The strategy aims to create a shared vision of how our estate and local communities can thrive by working together for the benefit of all.
It addresses the most critical issues facing rural communities today, including social and health inequality, lack of connectivity and declining community facilities such as schools, shops and pubs.
“This plan has become even more relevant and timely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and we believe this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to completely re-evaluate our approach and look at how we can all work together to create a sustainable and better future for us all,” said Roy Cox, our Estate Director.
“It addresses the aspirations and objectives set out in the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan, a partnership between four districts and Oxford City, to create a framework for future decision making on big issues like development, infrastructure and placemaking,” he added.
Among the proposals is the creation of a thriving village cluster by connecting eight villages within our estate - Bladon, Cassington, Church Hanborough, Combe, Long Hanborough, Wootton, Stonesfield and Old Woodstock – helping these villages work together to build a more sustainable and carbon-negative future.
The village cluster would include places to meet or work and reduce the need to travel for work and services. Any new housing developments which may be envisioned would be low carbon, using local materials sourced through local supply chains, building on traditional village character and forms.
The planning would also include integrated networks of bridleways and cycle routes to connect existing and new villages, transport interchanges and places of work, schools and other destinations, combined with transport sharing options and local delivery initiatives using electric vehicles.
As well as securing significant environmental benefits – reducing car dependency, congestion and pollution – it would also provide important social, economic and health benefits, by encouraging walking and cycling, strengthening village life and supporting local businesses.
Our next steps involve consulting with local villages to seek input into the best way to proceed.
The new plan forms a key element of our new Land strategy, which launched in November 2019, offering a revolutionary approach to managing our estate’s 12,000 acres of land and valuing our natural capital. Find out more about our Land Strategy.