The result of the May 6th Referendum on the Wolvercote Neighbourhood Plan was as follows: Votes. YES. 1991 Votes. NO. 136 Spoilt votes. 88
This means that 93.6 % of the votes cast were in support of the Plan.
Thank you to all our supporters. We will now need to make sure that the policies in the plan are implemented and we would welcome help to do this. We are also keen to know more about the aspirations of local residents.
The Neighbourhood Plan Referendum will take place on 6th May. For technical reasons the Council is unable to include notification of the Neighbourhood Plan Referendum with the poll cards. We understand that a letter will be sent out in about a week’s time, with information on the referendum and where to see the Plan. The Forum will also distribute an information leaflet.
Voting for the referendum will take place in the same locations as Council elections. Polling station staff will be briefed about the referendum,It will be counted on Sunday 9th May, following the County Council count.
Owing to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, as the May Elections have been postponed, the referendum to approve our Neighbourhood Plan has also been postponed.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 7th April 2020, the Government appreciates that this postponement “will be frustrating for communities that have dedicated significant time and effort to the neighbourhood planning process and naturally want their plans to come into force as soon as possible. With this in mind, they have updated current planning guidance to set out that neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision-making.”
When the referendum is eventually rescheduled, we hope you will
The public consultation period on the Wolvercote Neighbourhood Plan ran for 6 weeks from Tuesday 9th October to Tuesday 20th November 2018. The Neighbourhood Development Plan together with the associated supporting documents was made available to view both on the City Council’s website. Paper copies of these documents were made available for view at:
The White Hart, Wolvercote, 126 Godstow Road, Wolvercote, Oxford, OX2 8PQ
Summertown Public Library, 17 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JN
Oxford City Council’s Offices at St. Aldates Chambers, 109-113 St. Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1DS
The Plan must be in line with the Oxford Core Strategy and appended strategic documents, e.g. Sites and Housing Plan, Area Action Plans, etc. The Plan can only influence building development – type, mix, location, design. It can’t provide everything that our communities need or want. The Forum must consult everyone who has an interest.
Oxford City has decided that there will be development in a number of sites in the Wolvercote Area. The Forum can influence the development process; it cannot decide that the development will not happen.
In 20 years, Wolvercote Ward, which stretches from Cutteslowe Park in the east to Godstow in the west, will be an attractive, economically vibrant and culturally lively area. It will be for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests, and will have a strong sense of community. All new building developments should be sustainable and of a high quality, designed to be sensitively integrated with existing buildings so that the valued character of the streets and the green open spaces in all of the Ward’s distinct localities is retained and enhanced.
The proposals in the Plan are to benefit all those who live and all those who work in the Ward, and are for all age groups and for future generations. There should be a variety of housing to suit their needs and incomes, local employment opportunities, improved leisure facilities and accessible green spaces, and there should be an appropriate choice of environmentally friendly facilities for travel. The sustainability of the Ward, as a group of interacting communities existing within a wider economic, social and environmental context, should thus be ensured.
The Plan seeks to establish that new building developments are supported by adequate services and facilities. Transport links into and out of the centre of Oxford and with neighbouring areas should be maintained and improved so as to reduce dependence on cars, to lower pollution and to improve the ability of people to move about easily and safely. The Plan will also require that adequate precautionary measures are taken to reduce the risk of flooding, in particular in Lower Wolvercote, and especially in any new developments.
To establish a Neighbourhood Plan the following things must be accomplished: define the Area, set up a Forum, compile information about the Area and consult the local community about the issues.
The Area was defined in 2014 as the same as the Wolvercote Ward and the City Council has officially recognised the Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum. The application for this contained a draft Constitution and a list of signed up members of whom there are about 60 (a minimum of 21 is required). The Forum has held a number of meetings consulting the community.
The Plan has been finalised after scrutiny by an independent examiner. The Oxford City Council’s Cabinet in October 2019 agreed that this latest revision should proceed to a Referendum of those living in the Area. The Referendum took place on 6th May 2021. A simple majority of those voting was required for the Plan to be adopted into statute.
The result of the Referendum was:
That is: 93.6 % of the votes cast (excluding the spoilt papers) were YES votes.
The Wolvercote Neighbourhood Plan represents the views of the community in local area planning developments. It will be a binding legal planning document. Once approved by local residents and adopted by Oxford City Council, it will constitute a material consideration in all area planning applications.
This Neighbourhood Plan is your plan. It seeks to establish a vision for Wolvercote and to deliver local aspirations and needs from 2019 to 2034. Neighbourhood planning was introduced in the Localism Act (2011) and reflects the Government’s determination that local communities are closely involved in decisions about new buildings and developments that affect them.
Our plan area stretches from North Oxford to Cutteslowe and to the villages of Upper and Lower Wolvercote. Many people have lived here all their lives, many have retired here or have lived here while working in Oxford, and with the planned developments there will be a growing and changing community.
Unlike many Neighbourhood Plans, ours will not be able to affect the designation of major sites for development, because the Northern Gateway and the Mill site were already allocated for development. However, a neighbourhood plan is a statutory document incorporated into the planning framework and can have an impact on the way development happens. It can help to ensure that development is sympathetic.
We have worked to discover the views of the community about what it values and what needs to be done to ensure that Wolvercote will be a place where people will be happy to live in the future and that, whatever changes and developments there are, its essential character will not be lost. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of those who have joined the Steering Committee. The process remains open to all wanting to help in the future. We always welcome help.
We have been concerned to reflect the views of the community regarding, for example: flood risk; pollution; the preservation, development and maintenance of our green spaces; the protection of the Green Belt; the scale and sustainability of building. We know, too, that that our neighbourhood is affected by developments that are outside our area and consequently more difficult to influence. It is, however, our intention to do our best to co-operate with our neighbours to do what we can to ensure that the common interests of all residents are protected. This, then, is our vision for the future.
Chairman, Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum Steering Committee