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City's 'Greater Oxford' report

Friday, 27 May 2016 10:22

A new Oxford City report has revealed its proposals to build over 11,000 houses in the Oxford Green Belt, to the North and South of the City.

Oxford City Council's plans for a 'Greater Oxford' have been on the cards for decades, but the true extent of its ambition has now been laid out in a report produced by consultants Turley.

'Investing in Oxford's Future - Oxford Growth Strategy: Advocacy Statement' is dated January 2016, but has only just been revealed.  

Presumably the City has been using it to seek to influence the deliberations of the Oxfordshire Growth Board on how best to accommodate the ridiculously high housing numbers outlined in the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (for anyone who has tried to forget, that's 100,000 houses = 2 new Oxfords by 2031!).   Since the Growth Board's thinking is all being conducted behind the scenes without any public consultation, it is of course difficult to know.

The report itself takes 30 pages to come to the unstartling conclusion that the best place to meet Oxford's housing need is on land owned by the City Council.  

It outlines proposals for over 7,000 houses around Grenoble Road, South of Oxford, plus a further 4,000 houses North of Oxford.  Since both these locations are within the Oxford Green Belt, the report says a review of the Green Belt is justified.

CPRE Oxfordshire's Director Helen Marshall said:

"The city’s ambitions for a Greater Oxford are finally being laid bare. This is political expansionism and nothing to do with meeting housing need, otherwise they would be prioritising sites such as Northern Gateway and Osney Mead for housing rather than jobs. The Oxford Green Belt performs a vital function in protecting the historic character and setting of Oxford.  It is not a dumping ground for commuters adding to traffic nightmares."

CPRE will of course be following developments closely.

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