Why do we need a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
Under the current SODC Local Plan, Watlington was allocated 79 houses as its share of the new housing that must be provided in the SODC area in the period up to 2027. We cannot reduce this number, although we can agree to have more houses if that is the community's wish - the latest indications are, as the Local Plan (LP2033) takes shape, that the minimum will be 238 (up to 2033).
In April 2014 the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for Oxfordshire was published which identified a need for many more homes in Oxfordshire by 2031. SODC has consulted on a number of options for location of their share of these extra homes, but no final decision has yet been made. It is however, almost certain that the total number of new houses for Watlington will increase further.
SODC has now agreed to be one of the Oxfordshire Authorities to benefit from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal with HM Government
The Neighbourhood Development Plan gives the Watlington community a new way of influencing the planning decisions that will be needed for this planned growth in the number of homes in the parish. It can be used to:
- Develop a shared vision for our town and the WNDP designated area
- Choose where new homes, shops, offices and other development should be built
- Define preferences for the mix of housing types in any new development
- Identify and protect important local green spaces
Neighbourhood Development Plans have a special status in the planning system as they are part of the overall Development Plan for the
District Council. Decisions on planning applications must be in line with the District Development Plan, unless there are good reasons why this should not be done. By having an adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan, we have a legally enforceable way of controlling at least some aspects of future development.
If we do not have a Neighbourhood Development Plan, the SODC Local Plan 2033 - Sites and General policies document will control these decisions.
With the WNDP, we also get a greater share of Community Infrastructure Levy monies to spend on community infrastructure projects