A PUBLIC consultation has been launched to get residents' views on how housing should develop in West Oxfordshire over the next 15 years.

Cabinet Members have given the go ahead for the consultation on housing issues following changes to West Oxfordshire District Council’s draft Local Plan, which sets out how the district could develop until 2029.

The draft Plan, which will replace a former strategy that ended in 2011, has been refined to take account of the 2014 Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) published earlier this year.

The SHMA suggests 11,880 homes are needed in the district for the period 2011-2029 - 660 per year - a significant increase on the figure previously set out in draft proposals.

In response to the SHMA, and other relevant evidence, the council is proposing to increase the overall target to at least 9,450 homes from 2011-2029, or 525 per year.

As well as comments on the overall housing target , residents are being asked their views on proposed strategy for future development including plans for the majority of the housing to be built at the three main towns of Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton.

They will also be asked about strategic housing sites at west, east and north Witney, east Carterton and on MOD land within Carterton and land to the east of Chipping Norton.

Councillor Warwick Robinson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Housing, said: “We have been very keen to move forward with our Local Plan and had hoped to finalise this last year, but in light of changes to national planning policy and revocation of the South East Regional Plan, it became evident that the findings of the SHMA needed to be taken into account.

"Had we not done this, we could have been subject to legal challenge by developers. Whilst we recognise that we are not going to be able to please everyone, and there are difficult choices to make, we have to take a balanced view and look at the impact and results for West Oxfordshire overall.

“We want to give everyone the chance to tell us their views on this and we urge people to take the opportunity to do so.”

Once consultation has finished, all comments will be taken into consideration and a final version of the plan will be published and submitted to an independent Inspector next spring.

The consultation will start on Monday, July 28 July and ends on Friday, September 19. For details, visit westoxon.gov.uk/draftlocalplan.

The Local Plan Housing Consultation report considered at today’s Cabinet meeting can be viewed in full on the Council’s website.