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Oxford Local Plan – Lib Dem Group response

The full response runs to 58 pages, but here is a summary of comments.

Liberal Democrat group response to Oxford City Council Local Plan preferred options


There is much to welcome in this document. However, the balance between housing targets, site allocations and the environment is wrong. The cumulative effect of these policies will be to deliver large developments of highly-priced market housing, which is not necessary or desirable, in return for social housing, which is. They do little or nothing for people in the middle- ordinary working families. They will cause lasting damage to Oxford’s natural setting by being far too ready to discount the essential features of Green Belt- its permanence, and the inviolability of the five founding principles. We are also extremely concerned about the joint effect of this plan and those of neighbouring authorities, for example the potential for coalescence and pressure on services and infrastructure, and see little to reassure us that those factors have been sufficiently considered. Too many sites are safeguarded for employment which could happen elsewhere.

We welcome the commitment to green infrastructure, open space and biodiversity corridors and their importance for human wellbeing, but believe this could go further and align more specifically with the government’s emerging narrative around Natural Capital and the 25-year plan for the environment. We welcome moves towards an appropriate level of densification and the discussion around height limits, with the aim of creating a healthy, high-quality, mixed urban environment for all. We support the direction of policies on student housing and HMOs (with some caveats around, for example, vocational courses).

Liberal Democrats propose greater flexibility around ownership models, design, balance of dwellings and percentages of housing types in order to bring housing, both for sale and rent, more within the reach of teachers, nurses and many others who are essential to Oxford’s continued wellbeing. Plenty of good models work elsewhere. We would include specific commitments to neighbourhood planning, community-led housing, and certain specified types of tenure. We will reallocate a number of category 2 employment sites for housing, and seek to bring forward new ones, including back plots and brownfield. In certain circumstances, where a site has been safeguarded for recreational use but is not actually functioning as such, we would potentially support allocating part of the site for housing if the recreational, environmental and public access benefits of the site as a whole were maintained or enhanced. We will follow some other local authorities in including a specific policy on basements. We support, and will continue to support, developments which deliver benefits for the people of Oxford.

We support moves to enhance protection of Oxford’s unique architectural heritage. Better use should be made of instruments like Conservation Areas and World Heritage Status. We are concerned about the potential impact of development on Oxford’s less obvious treasures like St Thomas’s and St Ebbe’s churches, as well as its more brazen glories.

Transport planning has not always delivered the best solutions for the people of Oxford. We note (and the document acknowledges) that this Local Plan process can only address matters within the competency of Oxford City Council. A different form of local government organisation would do these things better. However, we seek better and more joined-up forward infrastructure planning. For example, we expressed concerns about infrastructure at Northern Gateway when the AAP was adopted. We do not believe that those concerns have been met. Similarly, transport planning for the new Westgate has clearly been late and inadequate, as last-minute attempts to address on-street parking, carpark charges, congestion, bus access and much else show. We support the removal of tourist buses from St Giles’.

Report from officers to Cabinet Member re Windmill Rd 20 MPH limit

Here is a copy of the report which is going to the Cabinet Member at a meeting on Thursday. County Cllr Roz Smith will be attending.

Two things stand out from this report:

  1. The police have opposed the extension of the speed limit
  2. The money for it is being taken out of the Access to Headington budget




Report by Director for Infrastructure Delivery Introduction

  1. This report presents responses received in the course of a statutory consultation to extend a 20mph speed limit on the B4495 Windmill Road, Oxford, southwards to include the full length of the road to its junction with Old Road.


  2. The request for the extension of the 20mph speed limit on the B4495 Windmill Road southward to include its full length was made in the course of the wider consultations on the Access to Headington. At the Cabinet Member for Environment decisions meeting on 9 June 2016, it was resolved that officers carry out a formal consultation on this proposal. A plan showing the proposed extent of the 20mph speed limit is shown at Annex 1.


  3. Formal consultation was carried out between 13 July and 11 August 2017. A public notice was placed in the Oxford Times newspaper, and sent to statutory consultees, including Thames Valley Police, the Fire & Rescue Service, Ambulance service, Oxford City Council and the local County Councillor.
  4. Thirty four responses were received as summarised at Annex 2. Copies of the full responses are available for inspection in the Members’ Resource Centre.
  5. Responses comprised objections from Thames Valley Police and two members of the public with expressions of support from the local County Councillor, Oxford City Council, the Windmill Road Residents Action Group, Windmill Primary School and Cyclox (a cyclist action and support group within Oxford) and twenty six members of the public, primarily residents of Windmill Road and adjacent roads.
  6. Thames Valley Police’s objection was on the grounds that while average speeds were within the threshold of 24mph as recommended in the Department of Transport guidance on 20mph speed limits without supporting traffic calming measures, the speed surveys also showed that a significant number of vehicles were travelling appreciably faster than this, and consequently it was unrealistic to expect good levels of compliance with the proposed 20mph limit. This could not only potentially lead to a more general disrespect of speed limits but also result in demands for police enforcement which cannot be accommodated within present resources.
  1. Objections from members of the public were on the grounds that the proposal was unnecessary and could lead to driver frustration and increased delays, with one respondent suggesting that a shorter extension of the 20mph speed limit to its junction with Margaret Road, south of which the road widens, might be more acceptable.
  2. Expressions of support primarily cited improved safety for all road users and in particular children, pedestrians and cyclists. However, several of these responses also stated the importance of enforcement of the lower speed limit should it be approved and that without this its benefits would be much reduced.

    Response to Objections and Concerns

  3. The concerns of Thames Valley Police on the likely high levels of abuse of the speed limit are noted and it is accepted that police resources for speed enforcement – including by the use of speed cameras – are already under severe pressure and that it would, therefore, be unrealistic to expect significant enforcement of the proposed 20mph speed limit.
  4. The objections from the members of the public on the grounds of need are similarly noted. However, the accident record of the part of the road where the reduced limit is being proposed (one serious and seven slight accidents have been reported in the latest 5-year period available, to 31 July 2017) does point to there being valid safety concerns, even when allowing for the fact that the circumstances of some of these incidents were low speed collisions.
  5. The significant number of responses in support of the proposal – notwithstanding that some of these were qualified by concerns over its benefits in in the likely absence of any appreciable enforcement activity given the severe pressures on police resources – is noted and it would, therefore, appear that the proposal has significant local support, together with that of Cyclox, representing wider cyclist interests in the city.

    How the Project supports LTP4 Objectives

  6. The proposals would help facilitate the safe movement of traffic.

    Financial and Staff Implications (including Revenue)

  7. The costs of the 20mph speed limit would be met from the budget allocated to the Access to Headington project.



14. The Cabinet Member for Environment is RECOMMENDED to approve the proposals as advertised

Latest planning decisions in Headington Ward

Two refusals by planning officers on delegated authority this week.

  • 17/01636/CPU  REFUSED

Application to certify that the proposed erection of single storey rear extension, formation of 1no. dormer to rear roofslope and infill of existing door to side elevation is lawful development.

12 Piper Street Oxford

  • 17/01686/FUL REFUSED Affecting a Conservation Area

Partial demolition of existing house and demolition of existing garages and outbuildings. Erection of two storey side and rear extension. Provision of new access, car parking and turning area. Rebuilding of stone boundary wall fronting Old High Street.
29 Old High Street Oxford

Police and Crime Commissioner to speak at Headington Ward Focus Meeting


The next public meeting for residents who live in Headington Ward will be on

Tuesday 26th September

Headington Baptist Church, 78 Old High Street, Headington OX3 9HW

from 6:00-7:30 pm

Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner, has agreed to speak, in response to requests from residents..

Ward Focus meetings are run on a drop in and out basis and are free of charge. There is an open session where residents can raise issues of concern. There’s no need to book.

If you would like to contact your Lib Dem city councillors for advice on any issue please contact

Planning decision latest – as many refusals as permissions

17/01254/FUL REFUSED

Erection of a single storey rear extension.

9 Sandfield Road Oxford


17/01407/FUL REFUSED

Demolition of existing front boundary wall

28 Norton Close Oxford



Retention of vanguard unit and corridor for temporary period of 2 years.

John Radcliffe Hospital Headley Way


17/01508/CPU REFUSED

Application to certify that the proposed erection of single storey rear extension, the formation of rear dormer and replacement of garage is lawful development.

9 Gardiner Street Oxford



Change of use of ground floor from Doctors Surgery (Use Class D1) to 1 x 1-bed and 1 x 2-bed flats (Use Class C3). Provision of car parking and private amenity space, and bin and cycle store.

12 Old High Street 



Application to certify that the proposed hip to gable loft conversion, with rear and side single storey extension is lawful development.

92 Sandfield Road 


Access to Headington: Highfield street event still going ahead

We asked the County Council to ensure the road diversions due to traffic works will not impede the Highfield Residents’ Association meze party and outdoor film showing on 16th September. Good news – the event will still go ahead – see letter to Lime Walk residents below. HRA had sought and been given permission to run the event well ahead of time, but that permission was given ahead of the date when the decision was made to facilitate construction works in Lime Walk and Old Road.

Dear Sir/ Madam

Re: Access to Headington – Churchill Drive, Old Road and Roosevelt Drive

We recently wrote to you to advise you that Lime Walk would be partially closed from the 11th September to facilitate the construction works on the Lime Walk Junction, Old Road and Churchill Drive. Due to the street party on All-Saints Road on 16th September we wanted to reassure you that the diversion route will be temporarily suspended that weekend to allow access and egress on the Lime Walk/Old Road junction via temporary traffic lights. All other elements of the works will remain the same.

We appreciate this work can be disruptive and we thank you for your patience throughout. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the project please contact our site project team at or you can call Oxfordshire County Council’s Customer Services team on 0845 310 1111.

You can find out more about Access to Headington and sign up the project e-bulletins at


Oxfordshire County Council

What’s on in September

  • Friday 1 to Sunday 3 September, Foodies Festival, South Park, 11 am to 7 pm. Join Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt and Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown at the annual Foodies Festival.
  • Sunday 3 September, Oxford Classic Mile Swim, starting at Donnington Bridge and finishing at the Christ Church Meadow river bank, 11 am to 1 pm. Second year of this open water Thames swimming event with one mile distance.
  • Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 September, St Giles Fair, St Giles, 11 am to 11 pm. One of the UK’s oldest fun fairs is back – this year with a licensed bar and street food traders!
  • Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September, Oxford Preservation Trust – Oxford Open Doors, city centre. Celebration of the city’s heritage with free activities at hundreds of venues.
  • Saturday 9 September, Vintage Bus Display, Broad Street (bollarded end), 10 am to 4 pm. As part of OPT Open Doors, the Oxford Bus Museum offers free rides with vintage buses through the city, and will have a vintage bus as an information point on Broad Street.