Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Estimates 'draconian and unrealistic...'

THE Campaign to Protect Rural England has called on South Oxfordshire District Council to reject the suggested housing increase.

In an open letter to the authority, the charity’s Oxfordshire branch says the figures are “draconian... unrealistic and unnecessary”.

It says the forecast is distorted because it is based on the county’s “potential for growth” rather than its need or capacity.

The housing assessment report says that 80,000 new jobs are expected to be created across Oxfordshire by 2031 and workers will need somewhere to live.

The CPRE claims the figures are not “forecasts of actual housing need on the common-sense basis of people already living here”. It says: “Such levels and rates of development are simply incompatible with the council’s own stated vision of South Oxfordshire continuing to be a desirable place to live and work.”

The letter urges the council to stick with the level of growth outlined in its 2012 local plan.

It says: “It would address any actual housing need but strike out the part of the SHMA which proposes building houses for incoming workers to take up notional jobs for which there is no evidence. [The SHMA] is an unfounded dash for growth and inward migration... which is not appropriate or sustainable.

“The actual economy of South Oxfordshire depends crucially on it remaining an attractive place to live and work and it would be fatally compromised by building on this scale. Builders, who are practical businessmen, would not build up to this incredible hypothetical level of demand unless there was actual demand, which is unlikely.

“But because the land would have been allocated, they would only build on the best bits, the greenfield and Green Belt sites which we can least afford to lose.”

The CPRE has also urged residents to reject all eight options outlined by the district council in its consultation.

It said: “You owe it to yourself and our county. These are not really options anyway as all would be required to meet the new housing forecast, which sounds like something from a horror movie.

“Overbuilding Oxfordshire will destroy the very things that make it attractive and prosperous so nobody will have gained except the landowners.”

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