Only half of County’s proposed housing to meet ‘local needs’ – Call for open debate on growth targets

SEP-02A new study commissioned by Need not Greed Oxon finds that fewer than half of the homes proposed for Oxfordshire over the next 15 years are needed to meet local demand.

Local councils have committed Oxfordshire to providing 100,000 new houses by 2031, the equivalent of two new Oxfords, however a report by Alan Wenban-Smith, a leading planning consultant, suggests that, even allowing for a normal pattern of jobs growth, just 45,000 houses would be required over that time to meet ‘local needs‘.

Most of the remaining houses are linked to a ‘committed growth’ policy drawn up by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) and adopted by the Councils. This proposes to create 85,000 new jobs in a County which already has almost full employment.

OxLEP is currently working on a ‘refresh’ of its Strategic Economic Plan. However, it has said discussion of the overall targets is not negotiable as these have already been agreed by the local Councils.

In a Press Release issued by NGGO this week, Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE – one of the founding members of the coalition – said:

“Let’s be clear – we are not saying that Oxfordshire shouldn’t grow. But we do think there should be an open public debate about the level of additional growth our Councils have signed up to, and the impact this may have on the County. Our main concern is that we do not destroy Oxfordshire’s rural character, which is what makes it such a great place to live and work in the first place.”

The overall growth targets for the county have never been subject to public consultation – NGGO is demanding that they should be part of the SEP Refresh.

We believe our Local Authorities have been in flagrant breach of their duty to us all in creating the present SHMA. The Need not Greed Oxon campaign is calling on our Local Authorities to scale it back to being the Objectively Assessed Need the Government requires them to meet, and delete its aggressive and unfounded Growth Strategy.

The public consultation on the SEP Refresh runs from 21 April 2016 to 20 May 2016 and will be hosted on the OxLEP website.

Need not Greed Oxon will be making available an information leaflet to assist the public in responding to the consultation.

More information will be available on this website shorlty.

Find out more:

If you would like a copy of the NGGO Press Release or Alan Wenban-Smith’s report, please Email: NGGO.

See the press coverage in the Oxford Times, 17 March.

Find out more about the SEP Refresh.