In March 2017 the Government committed to the Oxfordshire housing and growth deal (the deal), to support ambitious plans to deliver 100,000 homes by 2031. The deal committed to an Oxfordshire-wide joint statutory spatial plan to be adopted by 2021, and to be supported by £215 million of funding to help deliver more affordable housing and infrastructure improvements to support sustainable development across the county.
As part of the deal, to support this strategic approach to supporting housing delivery through joint working, Oxfordshire was granted flexibility from the national planning policy framework policy on maintaining a five-year housing land supply. Since 2018, Oxfordshire has had to provide proof of a three-year land supply for planning purposes. This has worked to support the delivery of the local plans for the area and ensure that the local authorities could focus their efforts on their joint spatial strategy.
This flexibility was laid out by the Secretary of State at the time the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire) in a written ministerial statement on 12 September 2018—https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2018-09-12/hcws955.
Since 2018, Oxfordshire has not finalised and adopted its joint statutory spatial plan. Therefore, in the best interests of housing delivery in the region, my Department has extended the time afforded to Oxfordshire for the delivery of this plan to 2023. This extension, however, will not be subject to the original land supply flexibilities. From today, Oxfordshire will need to maintain a five-year housing land supply in accordance with the national planning policy framework.
This statement is a material consideration in planning decisions and applies to those local planning authorities in Oxfordshire with whom the Government agreed the Oxfordshire housing and growth deal, namely Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council. This statement applies from today.