As the consultation period ends 7th April 2014, PAGE has responded to OCC regarding the proposed“OXFORDSHIRE MINERALS AND WASTE LOCAL PLAN: CORE STRATEGY, February 2014”.
Our key objections are:
- The lack of site identification leading to widespread blight, especially the 2,270 ha in the new Thames Valley area of search sweeping across South Oxfordshire. The plan would be “unsound” in that it fails the requirement of a “plan-led” approach to set out a “clear strategy for allocating sufficient land”. Many other regions are using the preferred site specific approach. In what way is Oxfordshire different and what is the rationale for the change from the development of the withdrawn strategy?
- The Plan lacks quantification (facts and figures). Despite the previous revision of the sales forecast (aligning with the PAGE recommended 10 year forecast) , the Plan fails to quantify the amount of sand and gravel required over the specified period. Therefore, we/they do not know if extra sites are even required to meet demand – current availability may be adequate, Why start new extraction sites unnecessarily? This makes no sense.
- The maps within the Plan are of such poor quality, with boundary definition unclear as well as there being no site identification. On top of this, the maps do not show where current, workable sites are – again, this makes no sense at all and casts serious doubts on the reliability of these areas of search.
- Setting the critique of the document aside, the PAGE area is wholly unsuitable for mineral extraction and this is detailed in our response document. Similarly, the allocation of extraction (from new or active sites) between East and West Oxfordshire should be based up fact not upon assertion.
- Finally, the Plan does NOT meet Government Policy and Guidance, which places a top priority on identifying sites not on extensive areas of search from which, alarmingly, planning applications could then emerge quite freely.