Having all gained seats in the May local elections, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Green parties – working in an alliance – have now formed a new administration in West Oxfordshire District Council, taking control away from the Conservatives.
Two Eynsham councillors are on the Cabinet: Cllr Dan Levy for Finance and myself (Cllr Carl Rylett) for Planning & Sustainable Development. We are working on a new Council Plan which will demonstrate our ambitions and objectives. This will take into account the challenges currently facing us, such as climate change and the cost of living crisis.
As far as housing is concerned, we will very shortly be engaging on a review of the Local Plan to give a new direction to strategic planning for the district. This will include healthy place shaping, co-ordinating house-building better with infrastructure provision, and raising net-zero standards. We encourage residents to get involved in the forthcoming consultations.
Locally, the National Inspector has this month responded to the Council's Area Action Plan for the Garden Village. They supported a large proportion of the ambitious plans, including 25% biodiversity net gain compared to a national standard of 10%, 50% affordable housing (including a mixture of rented and affordable home ownership options), and a comprehensive green infrastructure network for walking and cycling.
However, it was disappointing that the Inspector decided not to approve the requirement for new homes to be built to net-zero carbon standards. The Council will be looking at what other options are available to us to minimise any ongoing impact to the climate, with a view to making this an exemplar development.
Lastly, we are aware of some issues with the recent replacement of street bins, but are working hard to resolve them.