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Protect Rural Oxfordshire

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:44

Protect Rural Oxfordshire (PRO) 

Help us to challenge unsustainable new housing targets

In the summer of 2014, CPRE Oxfordshire launched a new campaign – Protect Rural Oxfordshire (PRO) – to challenge the unrealistic and deeply flawed housing figures proposed in the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment and to fight for a more sustainable vision for the future of our county.

CPRE is strongly critical of the enormous increase in housing figures proposed in the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). The SHMA suggests an increase in Oxfordshire's housing by 37%, from 272,000 to 372,060, in just 17 years, putting enormous pressure on local communities and the countryside, in particular, the Oxford Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   It virtually doubles previous targets of 54,700 houses to 100,060 houses.

We believe:

  • This is not about meeting the needs of existing residents, but catering for large inward migration into the county (see our comments on the draft Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan which heavily influences the SHMA and proposes creating 80,000 jobs in a county of virtually full employment)
  • It will not deliver affordable housing- developers are not incentivised to build at a rate that will bring prices down
  • It will prioritise greenfield rather than brownfield locations, with developers able to cherry pick the 'best' sites
  • It takes no account of infrastructure pressures and sustainability issues eg schools, roads, flooding, drought and traffic.

In May 2014, CPRE commissioned a report into the SHMA figures from Alan Wenban-Smith M.A. MRTPI MSC, an independent consultant in urban and regional policy, which concludes that the SHMA is so overstated, and so fatally flawed, both in its interpretation of evidence and lack of adherence to government planning guidance policy, as to be unfit for purpose.

CPRE is urging local policy makers not to accept the SHMA figures and to think again about how they determine the appropriate number of homes needed for Oxfordshire going forward.

And we are appealing to local authorities to direct housing allocations away from the Oxford Green Belt and AONBs and to prevent further development in inappropriate greenfield locations.

Need not Greed Oxfordshire - making our voice heard

In early 2016, CPRE Oxfordshire joined a new coalition of local action groups from across Oxfordshire to challenge the forced economic growth being foisted on our county - Need not Greed Oxfordshire: Planning for real need not speculator greed in Oxfordshire.

CPRE Oxfordshire is providing the Secretariat to the coalition.

We believe that by standing alongside other locally-based resident's groups and organisations which share similar concerns, PRO can make a stronger case for a re-think on the SHMA figures and better achieve its campiagn objectives.

With our coalition members, we are campaigning to force a reassessment by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Oxfordshire Growth Board and constituent Local Authorities of the developer-led, aggressive growth strategy being imposed on our county.

What you can do: Please act now!

To make a difference, we need support and funds from YOU. Please make a donation today online, right now. Your donation will be held and managed by local charity CPRE Oxfordshire and will help pay for legal, publicity and other costs in our PRO campaign.

Read the updates about our PRO campaign 

Find out more:

Oxfordshire SHMA Note on Local Needs, Urban & Regional Policy, March 2016

Unsound & Unsustainable: Why the SHMA will increase greenfield use but not meet housing needs - A critique of GL Hearn's April 2014 Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), Urban & Regional Policy, May 2014

The full report and the Executive Summary of the report are available below.

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