Local Needs Research – only half of county’s proposed housing to meet ‘local need’!

Hulton Park

23rd March 2016

A new piece of research, commissioned by Need not Greed Oxon and CPRE, looking at local needs in Oxfordshire found that only half of the county’s proposed housing is to meet ‘local need’! The rest is to meet the forced economic growth agenda.

Need not Greed Oxon and CPRE recently commissioned a research paper from leading planning consultant Alan Wenban-Smith, to look at the real need for housing in Oxfordshire.

It found that only 45,000 houses are required between now and 2031 to meet the real needs of local residents – not 100,000 as proposed by our Oxfordshire councils.

In the Oxford Times coverage (17 March), Alan Wenban-Smith argued that Oxford’s strength is as a seed-bed for ideas and more consideration should be given to technology transfer between Oxford and areas of larger centres of population with the necessary infrastructure.

In his view, additional housing is more likely to draw in additional commuters than to meet the needs of local workers (whether in new or existing jobs): “The effect of the policy on house prices and labour markets would then make it more difficult to recruit and retain academic and support staff essential to the research base. Passively falling in behind aspirations for commercial property development will thus require public spending on the infrastructure, services and housing Oxford does not have, while at the same time risking what makes the city a national asset.”

In a Press Release (see below) issued by NGGO on 17 March, Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire – one of the founding members of the coalition – said:

“Let’s be clear – we are not saying that Oxfordshire shouldn’t grow. But we do think there should be an open public debate about the level of additional growth our Councils have signed up to, and the impact this may have on the County. Our main concern is that we do not destroy Oxfordshire’s rural character, which is what makes it such a great place to live and work in the first place.”

OXLEP SEP ‘Refresh’

OxLEP is currently working on a ‘refresh’ of its Strategic Economic Plan. 

The revised Strategic Economic Plan will be put out for consultation by OxLEP between 21 April and 20 May. But there won’t be a chance to comment on the overall targets for Oxfordshire.

OxLEP says ‘the scale of planned growth… has already been discussed and agreed through the Growth Board’. 

But in most cases these figures haven’t even been discussed at full local Council meetings, let alone put out for public comment!

What you can do:

Please contact your local MP, county & district councillors and ask them to insist that the overall growth targets for Oxfordshire are part of the public consultation on the SEP refresh.

See their contact details.

And please contact OxLEP directly too: info@oxfordshirelep.com

You could also ask why OxLEP, an unaccountable limited company, is leading on this work, rather than our elected councils!

Find out more:

For more information about the Need not Greed Oxon coalition see the Need not Greed Oxon website.

See the Local Needs Research by Alan Wenban-Smith below.

See the NNGO Press Release below.

See the Oxford Times press coverage (17 March).


CPRE Oxfordshire, 23 March