Fears for the green belt as homes quota tops 100,000

Banbury Cake: Bob Price Bob Price

ONE hundred thousand more homes need to be built in Oxfordshire by 2031, according to a major new report that will shape planning policy.

It means councils across Oxfordshire could now have to build almost double the number of homes they previously thought were needed.

Now leaders will hold talks about where the homes will go, after Oxford City Council said it would not be able to take its share.

And there are fears that more of the city’s green belt – which stretches from Bletchingdon in the north to Warborough in the south – will be built on.

The figures will guide council policy over housing targets for years to come.

Banbury Cake:

  • Helen Marshall

The Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England has said it will resist any attempt to bulldoze the green belt.

Director Helen Marshall said: “The CPRE would fight strongly a review of the green belt. We don’t see that it would be necessary.”

The new figures have been released in the Oxfordshire strategic housing market assessment (SHMA), which has been carried out by independent consultants.

Councils are required by the Government to carry out regular SHMAs to make sure they are building enough homes. But leader of Oxford City Council Bob Price has expressed doubt about whether the authority can achieve its “challenging” new housing targets.

Oxford itself needs to build an additional 30,000 by 2031 – more than its leader says is possible.

Councils have agreed to sit down and discuss whether part of the allocations can be built in other areas around the county.

Mr Price said: “For the city, our range is between 1,200 and 1,600 a year until 2031 and obviously that is a figure which is challening in terms of our own ability to cope with that in Oxford’s boundaries.

“We reckon we have got space for around 7,000 homes if we are lucky.”

Oxford City Council’s previous target was to build 8,000 homes by 2026, of which nearly 3,000 have already been constructed.

NEW TARGETS

The need for a new SHMA was triggered by a Planning Inspectorate ruling that North Warwickshire Borough Council’s 2008 SHMA was out of date.

Oxfordshire’s is a year older, so the five district councils had to commission a new one between them.

The councils will now carry out an independent review of whether part of the allocations can be shared and put together plans to integrate the new houses into their local plans.

Mr Price, who has long wanted to build up to 4,000 homes on land outside the city council’s boundaries south of Grenoble Road, said that a complete review of Oxford’s green belt would be needed.

He said: “We have always said that a review of the green belt would be genuinely that: you would swap land in the green belt with land elsewhere.”

The SHMA does not allocate sites for where the houses should go. That will be looked at by each district council.

Banbury Cake:

  • Matthew Barber

Figures for Vale of White Horse, which has to build an extra 7,400 homes by 2031, were released last week as part of the district council’s consultation into its local plan.

District council leader Matthew Barber said: “The city council shouldn’t presume that just because they are the city, they can spill out everywhere else.”

Before the SHMA figures were released, Vale of White Horse District Counci had expected to have to build 13,000 homes, but this has now grown to more than 20,000.

South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker, whose council was already trying to build around 11,000 homes by 2026, has now been told it needs to build 15,000 by 2031.

But she rejected plans for development at Grenoble Road, where the land is owned by the city council and Magdalen College.

She said: “There may have to be a review of the green belt in certain areas but it is far too early to say.”

West Oxfordshire has the lowest allocation of all the district councils – 13,200 by 2031. Its council said the SHMA did not take into account constraints on development, such as the state of roads.

Cherwell District Council has the second highest target of 22,800 by 2031 – but said its local plan already set out a process for looking at housing spill-over from Oxford.

Comments (9)

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10:17am Sat 8 Mar 14

docs says...

This represents about a 50% increase in the population of the county. Yet much of the infrastructure - roads particularly - is already pretty much at capacity. Can we look forward to some joined-up thinking? Or will there just be lots of wishful thinking about home working?

Oh, and the whole point of greenbelt is to prevent urban sprawl. You can't simply swap one bit for another. If you're olanning to build on the greenbelt, have the guts to say so: don't pretend to be committed to preserving it.
This represents about a 50% increase in the population of the county. Yet much of the infrastructure - roads particularly - is already pretty much at capacity. Can we look forward to some joined-up thinking? Or will there just be lots of wishful thinking about home working? Oh, and the whole point of greenbelt is to prevent urban sprawl. You can't simply swap one bit for another. If you're olanning to build on the greenbelt, have the guts to say so: don't pretend to be committed to preserving it. docs
  • Score: 3

10:26am Sat 8 Mar 14

Englishman says...

Why do we need all these houses if they are not for immigrants? If this is going to happen in every County just think of the implications. We won't even have finished discussing whether to built HS2 by then let alone any other infrastructure like roads and energy, water etc.
Why do we need all these houses if they are not for immigrants? If this is going to happen in every County just think of the implications. We won't even have finished discussing whether to built HS2 by then let alone any other infrastructure like roads and energy, water etc. Englishman
  • Score: 5

11:41am Sat 8 Mar 14

Mrs Arcanum says...

Infrastructure improvements should be the priority.

Unfortunately, no matter what people may want in terms of green belt or exclusivity, there is simply not enough housing. This is driving up prices either renting or buying, out of the reach of the majority of Oxfordshire people.

If people are prepared to hotbed or in overcrowded conditions, they will afford the inflated rents as this will be for a temporary period whilst they send most of their pay home. However, this drives up prices for people who want to stay and make a home locally.

There are always consequences for any decision.
Infrastructure improvements should be the priority. Unfortunately, no matter what people may want in terms of green belt or exclusivity, there is simply not enough housing. This is driving up prices either renting or buying, out of the reach of the majority of Oxfordshire people. If people are prepared to hotbed or in overcrowded conditions, they will afford the inflated rents as this will be for a temporary period whilst they send most of their pay home. However, this drives up prices for people who want to stay and make a home locally. There are always consequences for any decision. Mrs Arcanum
  • Score: 1

12:02pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

docs wrote:
This represents about a 50% increase in the population of the county. Yet much of the infrastructure - roads particularly - is already pretty much at capacity. Can we look forward to some joined-up thinking? Or will there just be lots of wishful thinking about home working?

Oh, and the whole point of greenbelt is to prevent urban sprawl. You can't simply swap one bit for another. If you're olanning to build on the greenbelt, have the guts to say so: don't pretend to be committed to preserving it.
Not quite...

There are 268,000 households in Oxfordshire. So 100,000 would be an approximate 37% increase in number of households.

Still, there is an upside to this. Purchasers pay a secret tax of £100 per square meter which goes towards local infrastructure. The average new home buyer pays £7600 in this hidden tax.

100,000 * £7600 over the next 17 years will raise £76Bn towards major local infrastructure projects in Oxfordshire.

That's around double the amount that the first stage of HS2 will cost - just imagine what could be done to permanently improve Oxfordshire's transport infrastructure!

It's enough to build a "figure of 8" underground/overgrou
nd system for Oxford with links stretching out to Abingdon/Wantage and Carterton/Witney!

Don't forget there will probably be high net migration from Scotland to where the jobs are in the South of England if it goes independent later this year...
[quote][p][bold]docs[/bold] wrote: This represents about a 50% increase in the population of the county. Yet much of the infrastructure - roads particularly - is already pretty much at capacity. Can we look forward to some joined-up thinking? Or will there just be lots of wishful thinking about home working? Oh, and the whole point of greenbelt is to prevent urban sprawl. You can't simply swap one bit for another. If you're olanning to build on the greenbelt, have the guts to say so: don't pretend to be committed to preserving it.[/p][/quote]Not quite... There are 268,000 households in Oxfordshire. So 100,000 would be an approximate 37% increase in number of households. Still, there is an upside to this. Purchasers pay a secret tax of £100 per square meter which goes towards local infrastructure. The average new home buyer pays £7600 in this hidden tax. 100,000 * £7600 over the next 17 years will raise £76Bn towards major local infrastructure projects in Oxfordshire. That's around double the amount that the first stage of HS2 will cost - just imagine what could be done to permanently improve Oxfordshire's transport infrastructure! It's enough to build a "figure of 8" underground/overgrou nd system for Oxford with links stretching out to Abingdon/Wantage and Carterton/Witney! Don't forget there will probably be high net migration from Scotland to where the jobs are in the South of England if it goes independent later this year... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

12:50pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Bicester retired says...

There are always arguments about infrastructure should go first or additional housing should go first. In fact, they always go hand in hand, so no need to be over worried. Urbanisation of green or brown fields is inevitable and has been happening for hundreds of years.

It is undeniable that we need additional housing to cope with the increasing population. Persisted objections won't solve the problem, even if we can curb further immigration. It would be better to spend the efforts to find practical additional housing sites with due consideration about the infrastructure problems.
There are always arguments about infrastructure should go first or additional housing should go first. In fact, they always go hand in hand, so no need to be over worried. Urbanisation of green or brown fields is inevitable and has been happening for hundreds of years. It is undeniable that we need additional housing to cope with the increasing population. Persisted objections won't solve the problem, even if we can curb further immigration. It would be better to spend the efforts to find practical additional housing sites with due consideration about the infrastructure problems. Bicester retired
  • Score: 0

5:52pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
docs wrote:
This represents about a 50% increase in the population of the county. Yet much of the infrastructure - roads particularly - is already pretty much at capacity. Can we look forward to some joined-up thinking? Or will there just be lots of wishful thinking about home working?

Oh, and the whole point of greenbelt is to prevent urban sprawl. You can't simply swap one bit for another. If you're olanning to build on the greenbelt, have the guts to say so: don't pretend to be committed to preserving it.
Not quite...

There are 268,000 households in Oxfordshire. So 100,000 would be an approximate 37% increase in number of households.

Still, there is an upside to this. Purchasers pay a secret tax of £100 per square meter which goes towards local infrastructure. The average new home buyer pays £7600 in this hidden tax.

100,000 * £7600 over the next 17 years will raise £76Bn towards major local infrastructure projects in Oxfordshire.

That's around double the amount that the first stage of HS2 will cost - just imagine what could be done to permanently improve Oxfordshire's transport infrastructure!

It's enough to build a "figure of 8" underground/overgrou

nd system for Oxford with links stretching out to Abingdon/Wantage and Carterton/Witney!

Don't forget there will probably be high net migration from Scotland to where the jobs are in the South of England if it goes independent later this year...
Oops... Slip of the fingers in my calculations there...

100,000 x £7600 is clearly not £76Bn

It's £760,000,000 or £0.76Bn

Still 7x more than would be needed to reopen the line to Carterton/Witney though...
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]docs[/bold] wrote: This represents about a 50% increase in the population of the county. Yet much of the infrastructure - roads particularly - is already pretty much at capacity. Can we look forward to some joined-up thinking? Or will there just be lots of wishful thinking about home working? Oh, and the whole point of greenbelt is to prevent urban sprawl. You can't simply swap one bit for another. If you're olanning to build on the greenbelt, have the guts to say so: don't pretend to be committed to preserving it.[/p][/quote]Not quite... There are 268,000 households in Oxfordshire. So 100,000 would be an approximate 37% increase in number of households. Still, there is an upside to this. Purchasers pay a secret tax of £100 per square meter which goes towards local infrastructure. The average new home buyer pays £7600 in this hidden tax. 100,000 * £7600 over the next 17 years will raise £76Bn towards major local infrastructure projects in Oxfordshire. That's around double the amount that the first stage of HS2 will cost - just imagine what could be done to permanently improve Oxfordshire's transport infrastructure! It's enough to build a "figure of 8" underground/overgrou nd system for Oxford with links stretching out to Abingdon/Wantage and Carterton/Witney! Don't forget there will probably be high net migration from Scotland to where the jobs are in the South of England if it goes independent later this year...[/p][/quote]Oops... Slip of the fingers in my calculations there... 100,000 x £7600 is clearly not £76Bn It's £760,000,000 or £0.76Bn Still 7x more than would be needed to reopen the line to Carterton/Witney though... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

6:15pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Andy of jericho says...

Another 100 000 homes will destroy Oxfordshire, and Oxford. What we'll have is continuous urban and suburban development stretching from London to Birmingham.

And just who are the people who dictate that we 'must' build that many? Were any of them elected by the people of this county?
Another 100 000 homes will destroy Oxfordshire, and Oxford. What we'll have is continuous urban and suburban development stretching from London to Birmingham. And just who are the people who dictate that we 'must' build that many? Were any of them elected by the people of this county? Andy of jericho
  • Score: 4

10:54am Sun 9 Mar 14

RuralResident says...

What are the premises on which this housing need is based?
'Increasing population' tells us nothing, and could be based on statistics that are biased towards exponential growth.
Where will all these householders work and what wealth or value will they create to exchange for the services they will expect?

And on a different note - why are there so many boarded-up properties in Oxford?
What are the premises on which this housing need is based? 'Increasing population' tells us nothing, and could be based on statistics that are biased towards exponential growth. Where will all these householders work and what wealth or value will they create to exchange for the services they will expect? And on a different note - why are there so many boarded-up properties in Oxford? RuralResident
  • Score: 1

7:01pm Sun 9 Mar 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

RuralResident wrote:
What are the premises on which this housing need is based?
'Increasing population' tells us nothing, and could be based on statistics that are biased towards exponential growth.
Where will all these householders work and what wealth or value will they create to exchange for the services they will expect?

And on a different note - why are there so many boarded-up properties in Oxford?
There are relatively few compared to, say, Hull.

There are various reasons why a residential property would be vacant in Oxford:-

Disputes between the beneficiaries/execut
ors of a will.
Owner short of funds for redevelopment.
Unsafe property
Former social housing not meeting current standards
Investment without the inconvenience of residents
[quote][p][bold]RuralResident[/bold] wrote: What are the premises on which this housing need is based? 'Increasing population' tells us nothing, and could be based on statistics that are biased towards exponential growth. Where will all these householders work and what wealth or value will they create to exchange for the services they will expect? And on a different note - why are there so many boarded-up properties in Oxford?[/p][/quote]There are relatively few compared to, say, Hull. There are various reasons why a residential property would be vacant in Oxford:- Disputes between the beneficiaries/execut ors of a will. Owner short of funds for redevelopment. Unsafe property Former social housing not meeting current standards Investment without the inconvenience of residents Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

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