In April last year, South Oxfordshire District Council declared a climate emergency and in May a Lib Dem-Green Party coalition, running on a climate ticket against the existing draft local plan and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, took office.
But in October last year, housing secretary Robert Jenrick made a last-minute intervention to stop the council from withdrawing its emerging local plan, warning that the plan formed an “essential step” to delivering the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal along with £215m of central government funding allocated for infrastructure in the county.
Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004
06 Mar 2009
Jenrick has now written to the council’s leader, Sue Cooper, warning her that he may use his powers as housing secretary under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to ask Oxfordshire County Council to prepare the plan instead of the district council. Jenrick has asked Cooper to list what “exceptional circumstances” have prevented the council from putting a plan in place, before a decision over his “next steps” is taken.
A South Oxfordshire District Council spokesman said the council was currently “considering its options”. “[We] will be providing a response in due course by the end of the month as requested,” he added.
In November last year Oxfordshire County Council dumped its prior support for the construction of the Ox-Cam expressway, saying it “flied in the face” of its own climate change emergency declaration.
To view Jenrick’s letter in full click here