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.