Oxford City Council is planning to build many more houses than the Government figures suggest. Oxford City’s inflated housing need becomes Oxfordshire’s problem when Planning Inspectors can force District Councils to build to meet Oxford City’s inflated housing aspirations. Please write to your District and County Councilors to resist the consequences of this – lots of market value houses despoiling our countryside and reducing local food production. See WriteToThem for contact details.
Susan McIvor’s letter to the Oxford Times explains this:
Housing needs claims.
Oxford City Council is consulting on its 2040 local plan – and is up to its old tricks again, inflating its claimed housing need and planning to build many more houses than the Government requires it to.
Oxford City claims that Oxford economic dynamism and growth performance, both regionally and nationally, are exceptional circumstances which justify the use of an alternative method for calculating housing need. The government method of calculating housing need produces a figure of 762 dwellings per annum (dpa). Oxford City’s alternative method reduces a figure which is nearly 75% higher at a staggering 1322 dpa. Part of Oxford Cities justification is affordability, but the governments calculation already includes a substantial 40% uplift, on top of projected population growth, to reflect the need for affordable housing.
Disappointingly Cherwell District Council has followed Oxford City along a path of inflated housing need, claiming that it needs to build 1009 dpa instead of the government’s calculation of 742 dpa.
Cherwell has also willingly offered to take some of Oxfords inflated housing need and is therefore planning to build many thousand more houses than it needs to.
But Oxford City’s inflated housing need is Oxfordshire’s problem because Oxford city claims that he has little space for new houses. However, as many people know, Oxford City has a history of allocating land to employment and pushing the houses it says he can’t build onto other districts and the Oxford green belt.
In its joint response to Oxford housing need earlier this year, South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse was scathing about Oxford city’s alternative calculation of housing need. They wrote; “we do not support your approach.
The Government set out in the NPPF/NBBG that it expects all authorities to follow the Standard Method or produce an exceptional circumstance for doing something different. The NPPF and guidance doesn’t say the Standard Method is adjustable. The Standard Method is the Standard Method, the clue in its name. It is a set formula for all local authorities in England, with set inputs, and it isn’t something to be corrected or doctored or something that can be manipulated to support a particular view of the world.
West Oxfordshire District Council was similarly unimpressed with Oxford city’s approach. Let’s hope that SODC, Vale and WODC are prepared to take Oxford city on over this. Either they do that or they must again submit to excepting Oxford’s unmet housing need and the associated consequences for our countryside, biodiversity, rivers etc.