The concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods represents a major new perspective for planning within Oxfordshire. CoHSAT has written a policy paper to clarify the issues and increase the likelihood that 15-minute neighbourhood can become an integral part of Oxfordshire’s future. The objective is to ensure that more amenities are close to where people live, particularly in rural areas of Oxfordshire, so that they no longer have to travel some distance by car or public transport to access them. These journeys are both polluting and, for poorer households, a considerable expense.
The 15-minute neighbourhood has, as its primary principle, the need to ensure that people have easy access – a 15-minute walk there and a 15-minute walk back – to their main amenities. We started the project with the CoHSAT Walkability Index, looking at access to five main amenities (a shop, GP, school, green space and pub) in Oxford. This identified for planners where these essential amenities are beyond a 15-minute walk for householders and, therefore, where additional facilities are needed. 15-Minute Neighbourhood Survey Report March 2022 results confirm the top six main priorities of green space/park; basic shop; post office; GP surgery; pharmacy; supermarket.
We hope that the policy paper enhances understanding of the 15-minute neighbourhood concept. It makes recommendations to the city and district councils and to Oxfordshire County Council on how through their powers and influence they can ensure an increasing proportion of residents of Oxfordshire live in a 15-minute neighbourhood.
This concept should also be integrated into responses to consultations such as Oxfordshire 2050, the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan, the Zero Emission Green Zone and the Street Guide for new and existing developments. There is continuing evidence that the county still has a car-based approach in many of these documents and the 15-minute neighbourhood policy paper will challenge and, hopefully, begin to reverse that thinking.
We believe that together with the findings from the 15-minute neighbourhood survey this will provide a powerful stimulus representing both bottom-up aspirations and top-down opportunities.
View the policy paper here: