MPs’ stance on homes strategy must be taken into account

Banbury Cake: MPs’ stance on homes strategy must be taken into account MPs’ stance on homes strategy must be taken into account

THE Government will be well-braced for the outcry from councils about the number of homes its Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is proclaiming should be built across the country.

There are very few areas that would welcome with open arms thousands of homes.

It is the standard catch 22: we need more houses but not over here. Nor there. Nope, keep that bit clear as well.

Housing vs retaining the character of villages and towns is particularly sensitive in Oxfordshire but the Government should pause for some thought because of the strength of feeling coming from the staunchly true blue political elements.

When the likes of Ed Vaizey and John Howell are saying the methodology behind the SHMA for Oxfordshire – which has come up with the figure of 100,000 homes by 2031 – needs to be reviewed, then it does.

They are not going to rock the Government boat purely to score local political points.

More critically for the Prime Minister, his own local political ally Barry Norton, wearing his hat as West Oxfordshire District Council leader, says the tally for his area is probably wrong.

And he has warned that if officers determine the SHMA is inaccurate, he will be challenging it.

It will be interesting to see where this leads us. The Government is unlikely to admit its system is wrong, so we may be headed for some kind of lengthy fight and yet more uncertainty on how our county is going to look in the medium term.

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10:00am Tue 13 May 14

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

You can argue either way on the need for all these extra homes in Oxfordshire but what is undoubtedly clear is that at present there are no satisfactory plans to improve the county's infra structure to cope with a massive increase in resident numbers. In West Oxon there is no significant provision in the latest county announcement for relief to the very over crowded A40 from the end of the Witney By-pass to Oxford other than an almost completely inadequate link road between the A40. Major transportation infra-structure investment in the A40 alternatives such as much improved public transport facilities should be a mandatory requirement on any major housing expansion. It would be very "green" to dual the A40 around Oxford as it would decrease fuel consumption, give back commuters the hour a day of lost sleep reported in the media today and improve the environment of surrounding areas such as Hanborough and Bladon that are now congested with rat run vehicles. Of course the Greens would come up with this old falacy that improving a road increases road use. However this ignores that most additional use would come from the the rat runners using a shorter and faster commuting route thus helping the environment.
You can argue either way on the need for all these extra homes in Oxfordshire but what is undoubtedly clear is that at present there are no satisfactory plans to improve the county's infra structure to cope with a massive increase in resident numbers. In West Oxon there is no significant provision in the latest county announcement for relief to the very over crowded A40 from the end of the Witney By-pass to Oxford other than an almost completely inadequate link road between the A40. Major transportation infra-structure investment in the A40 alternatives such as much improved public transport facilities should be a mandatory requirement on any major housing expansion. It would be very "green" to dual the A40 around Oxford as it would decrease fuel consumption, give back commuters the hour a day of lost sleep reported in the media today and improve the environment of surrounding areas such as Hanborough and Bladon that are now congested with rat run vehicles. Of course the Greens would come up with this old falacy that improving a road increases road use. However this ignores that most additional use would come from the the rat runners using a shorter and faster commuting route thus helping the environment. West Oxon Webwatcher
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