Dodgy Housing Algorithm would commit Oxfordshire to Exponential Growth

New homes

21st September 2020

CPRE Oxfordshire is deeply concerned about the Government’s proposed new way of calculating housing numbers1, with the figures to be imposed top-down on local authorities.


Instead of housing numbers being at least nominally decided by our local representatives, on the basis of evidence, they are to be imposed nationally. The new calculation starts with a number, 300,000 houses a year + 10% contingency, and then uses a dubious algorithm to arrive at this figure.

Helen Marshall, Director, CPRE Oxfordshire said: “Allocations to local authorities are to be based not on where future growth might be best located, or where need is greatest, but on relative house prices. The higher the house prices, the more houses you will have to build.   But builders will only build what they can sell at current prices and are not about to devalue their own markets. Its only effect will be to bring more people to the area, not to address existing local need.”

Calculations2 suggest that Oxfordshire would be required to build more or less the same number of houses as the current Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal (5,000 dwellings per annum), which the Government itself originally said was far greater than the number needed, all the time, every year, for ever, each time from a larger base.

CPRE Oxfordshire will be raising its concerns with local MPs and will be addressing the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting, 22 Sept3.

Local residents are encouraged to respond to the Government consultation on housing methodology which runs until 1 October. Download 


  1. Changes to the Current Planning System – Government consultation on proposed changes to the way local housing need will be calculated, runs until 1 Oct 2020.
  1. Analysis by Lichfields suggests the figures for Oxfordshire as follows:


Current standard method*

Proposed new standard method







Oxford City



South Oxfordshire



Vale of White Horse



West Oxfordshire



*Already significantly above Office of National Statistics Household Projections

  1. Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting, 2pm, Tues 22 Sept