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Local plan to advise city council on new building
RESIDENTS have taken the first step towards adopting new powers to give themselves more influence over building plans for a large part of Headington.
A steering group of residents and councillors have agreed the area’s boundary – from the foot of Headington Hill to the ring road, from the top of the JR to bottom of the Churchill – that would be covered by the new powers.
They want to draw up a neighbourhood plan, a document setting out what the community does and does not want to be built and where.
This will have to be considered by Oxford City Council when it makes planning decisions, for example on new homes and shops.
Steering group chairman Mike Ratcliffe said it had been difficult to decide on the precise boundaries for the neighbourhood area as it was so big.
He said: “Headington is more complex than other areas wanting to draw up a neighbourhood plan like Jericho and Wolvercote in terms of deciding what its boundaries are.
“There will be people who disagree with the boundary we have drawn up, but we are still a large area of about 18,000 people.”
The next step is to set up a neighbourhood forum to develop the plan, which will have to be ratified by a public vote.
The powers stem from the Localism Act 2011, which aimed at giving more powers to communities.
The steering group handed the proposed map to the city council on Thursday with a constitution for the forum.
There will then be a six-week consultation on the neighbourhood area before it is designated by the city council.
Mr Ratcliffe, of Bickerton Road, said: “This is a real opportunity to work out what issues there are in Headington.
“It will give us a chance to talk about important issues in Headington which we haven’t been able to do before.
“We want to see development in Headington but at the same time we have to balance that with the needs of the community.
“We also need to make sure that any infrastructure is done at a sensible pace.”
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