Oxfordshire is home to world leading universities and has a thriving and buoyant economy set within a beautiful rural landscape. However, it also has a housing affordability crisis. Higher housing prices mean essential workers and residents struggle to afford to buy homes and pay high rents.
We now have the opportunity to create a new garden village with high quality affordable homes for people who work in our hospitals, schools, shops, emergency services, care homes and other public services.
Our garden village will provide a great quality of life for people to flourish in a healthy, sustainable and well-connected community.
So that we could start to tackle some of the issues faced by communities, West Oxfordshire District Council submitted an expression of interest to the Government to build a garden village in 2016, in response to the Government’s Locally-Led Garden Village initiative.
In January 2017, the Government announced that it would contribute funding towards the new Salt Cross Garden Village alongside 13 other garden villages and three garden towns.
Government backing for the Garden Village allowed detailed planning to begin and the opportunity to access infrastructure funding programmes across government, such as the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.
In the summer of 2018 we published the Area Action Plan Issues Paper for the Salt Cross Garden Village for consultation. In autumn 2018 through to spring 2019 we began a series of community forum events. The community forum took part in study tours to other garden communities at different stages of completion. Their input has been invaluable in deciding what the community wants from a garden village, to provide inspiration and make sure that their views are taken into account as we move forward through the process.
The final pre-submission draft version of the AAP was published for an eight week period of public consultation from 28 August to 23 October 2020.
After considering the responses to the consultation, we formally submitted the AAP to the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination on 10 February 2021.
As part of the examination process, a number of hearing sessions were held over a two-week period from 28 June – 8 July 2021. The hearings took place virtually and were streamed live via the District Council’s Facebook page. The recordings of each session can be viewed here.