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Speculative development opportunities in South Oxfordshire

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A recent planning decision has opened up a flurry of opportunities for speculative development in South Oxfordshire.

At the beginning of July, an independent Planning Inspector ruled that SODC is failing to maintain its housing land supply. The ruling related to an application to build a retirement village in Sonning Common but has implications for the entire South Oxfordshire district. The Inspector concluded that the Council has a housing land supply equivalent to 4.21 years, which SODC continues to dispute.

The implications of not having a five-year housing land supply are significant as it means most policies for determining the application are automatically out-of-date. This includes not only the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035, but also the Neighbourhood Plans that are part of it.

This presents developers with the opportunity to apply for planning permission for unallocated sites to meet the housing need, with a presumption in favour of sustainable development in line with the National Planning Policy Framework. In short, it is now difficult for SODC to refuse applications for development even if the sites are not allocated in the Local Plan or Neighbourhood Plans.

Glanville is already supporting several landowners and developers in preparing planning applications for unallocated sites in South Oxfordshire. Our multi-disciplinary team brings expertise and experience to the pre-planning stage across a wide range of technical disciplines, from topographical surveys to Transport Statements / Assessments, Travel Plans, Flood Risk Assessments and Drainage & Utilities Statements.

Glanville Director, John Birch, said: “The opportunity for speculative development on unallocated sites in South Oxfordshire was unexpected. We are seeing an unprecedented level of interest in pre-planning services for developments in this area. The cards are seemingly stacked in favour of developers at present but how long this window will remain open is unclear as SODC will be working hard to demonstrate they do have a five-year housing land supply.”


For all enquiries regarding Glanville’s range of pre-planning services, please contact John at: