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South Oxfordshire blocks deal to meet Oxford’s unmet housing need

Published: Thursday, 29th September 2016

Oxfordshire Growth Board plans to address Oxford's unmet housing need are on hold after South Oxfordshire District Council refuses to accept the proposal…

A concerted bid by Oxfordshire planning authorities to help solve Oxford City’s housing crisis came unstuck this week when one local authority, South Oxfordshire District Council, declined to accept its share of the city’s unmet housing provision apportioned under a deal agreed by the rest of the councils.

At a meeting on Monday chaired by the county council, five of Oxfordshire’s six councils (Cherwell, City, County Council, Vale of White Horse, West Oxfordshire) agreed to the recommendations made by senior officers from all six councils on how Oxford’s unmet housing need, assumed to be 15,000 homes, should be met across the county.

That was the figure highlighted in the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment published in 2014. It was emphasised at the meeting that decisions on where housing growth will be located will be a matter for each council to decide in their local plans.

Under the deal Oxford would look to build another 550 houses, while Cherwell would contribute 4,400, Vale of White Horse 2,200, West Oxfordshire 2,750, and South Oxfordshire would build 4,950.

All of Oxfordshire’s councils voted to approve the plans except South Oxfordshire DC, whose leader councillor John Cotton said the number was too high and questioned Oxford's efforts.

After the meeting he said: “South Oxfordshire recognises the difficult situation the city council is in. However, the pressure to find space for more homes is one that affects us all, and residents here rightly expect the city council to leave no stone unturned in its efforts to meet its own need.

“However, we will continue to work in friendly partnership with members and officers at the City and together help tackle the challenges we face in Oxfordshire.”

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, leader of the county council and chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “The recommendations made to the board on housing apportionment was the result of years of hard work by all six councils in the county who have worked in partnership to develop a sustainable approach to meet the county’s future housing needs.

“I am disappointed that South Oxfordshire was not in a position to support the recommendation. However, I am pleased that all other councils voted in support of the recommendations.”

Read the news story.

Roger Milne