Oxford City’s growth agenda threatens countryside

View of Oxford Photo: © Jane Tomlinson

27th March 2023

Oxford City is currently consulting on a new round of high growth-based housing figures for Oxford. Brownfield sites are being prioritised for employment, meaning the pressure on housing supply in the city will increase with ‘affordable’ housing remaining out of reach for most households.

CPRE Oxfordshire believes these sites should instead be focused on high quality, high density, affordable housing – putting local need first. The graphic below shows the discrepancy: current plans will create nearly 20 times more jobs than homes.

At the same time the maximised housing need figures mean it looks like the City Council will yet again be looking to our District Councils to absorb the overspill. Oxford City is looking to dictate the housing numbers and dispersal for the whole county, putting the Green Belt and surrounding open countryside at risk.

Based on figures outlined in the Housing & Economic Needs Assessment Oxford City is proposing Oxfordshire needs to build 4,406 houses a year. Of this, the need for 1,322 homes is generated by the City, BUT they claim they only have capacity to build 457, leaving the remaining 865 homes to be picked up by the districts (in addition to their own allocation).

Furthermore, the City is proposing to support Oxfordshire population growth at over 5 times the UK forecast. This will encourage movement into the city, undermining the national levelling up agenda.

CPRE Oxfordshire would encourage Oxford City Council to show as much as restraint as possible regarding balancing economic growth, actual housing need and protecting the unique setting of the city within its Green Belt boundary.

Consultation on part 2 of the Oxford Local Plan 2040 runs until Monday 27 March 2023. CPRE Oxfordshire would encourage everyone who may be impacted to respond, Oxford City residents and those in outlying villages likely to be burdened with unwanted development.

CPRE Oxfordshire’s Draft Response to the Consultation can be downloaded below.