Our Expertise

OPT has been described as ‘punching about its weight’. It has a strong reputation and voice on planning matters at a local and national level.

The OPT team has years of experience and professional accreditations within the fields of heritage, history and architecture.

Headed up by OPT Director Debbie Dance OBE, MSc, FRICS, IHBC, RSA,

Supported by Katherine Jones BA (Hons), MSc, MRTPI and Katie Wylie BA (Hons), MSc.

OPT works closely with local experts, local communities and our area committees:

The Planning Committee is chaired by OPT Trustee Carole Souter, Master of St Cross College. The Committee oversees OPT's planning strategy and helps to inform OPT's approach. The Trust takes a positive approach to guiding change, not stopping it, promoting the preservation and enhancement of the built, natural and historic environment for the benefit of the people of Oxford.  

Area Liaison Groups: OPT has member Area Committees in Marston and Boars Hill who are our eyes and ears, telling us about issues on the ground and sharing their in depth local knowledge. OPT also has close working relationships with many city-wide amenity groups, and local area groups operating in key conservation areas and villages close to Oxford.  OPT shares information and expertise with these groups, helping to guide on local planning issues. 

Historic England and Oxford City Council: OPT has a track record of successful partnership and innovative projects with the support of Historic England and in partnership Oxford City Council. These projects included:

  • The Oxford Views Study 2015 gives better access to information on the 10 existing view cones, improving on the current View Cones policies in the Oxford Local Plan to provide a better tool for assessing management and change.  This project followed on from Historic England’s London study, Seeing History in the View .  The Oxford Views Study was published in September 2015 and looks at the existing ten view Cones.  A further study looking at other views, including looking outwards from high points and towers is envisaged as a second part to the Study, for which has not been secured as yet
  • The Heritage Plan Portal can be found on Oxford City Council’s website which won an RTPI South East Planning Award 2014 for innovative planning. It looks to provide a better understanding of what makes Oxford's heritage, and draws together the many and various works and studies that exist making them more easily accessible in order to assist with better planning and management of change in Oxford.  The project is aimed at a wide audience and wide stakeholder engagement. Plans for a Heritage SPD working with the City Council are ongoing and will form part of the Local Plan revisions.
  • The award winning Oxford Character Assessment Tool Kit was a partnership project with OPT, Oxford City Council and Historic England, developing a methodology for measuring and assessing importance and capturing public value in the historic environment and is now widely seen as best practice throughout England.   

Need more? For a full list of the groups we work with, more details on any of the projects mentioned or for information on joining a group please contact us directly.