Agenda item

Oxfordshire's Affordable Housing Potential - secured through planning policy

Purpose: The Panel its March meeting requested an update for the projected rates of Growth Deal affordable housing. (To follow).


Recommendation: To consider and discuss the update.


The Panel considered a report (included within the supplementary agenda) responding to its previous request for information around the delivery of affordable housing. Caroline Green, Assistant Chief Executive - Oxford City Council introduced the report and provided additional specific data in respect of Oxford City Council as circulated at the meeting.


The Scrutiny Panel noted in the update and their discussion:


·           A best estimate of council’s affordable housing could be derived from the overall housing trajectory and the application of local planning policies to deliver a proportion of affordable housing on market sites alongside sites developed exclusively for affordable housing, but these were not formal targets.

·           In considering any estimate it was very important to take into consideration that affordable housing levels derived through planning policy would always be subject to the challenge of site viability, i.e. whether a specific site could deliver the level of affordable housing. The level of this challenge and impact on estimates for affordable housing was difficult to predict. 

·           Estimates of affordable housing were not included in council’s Annual Monitoring Reports, (AMR).

·           Updated data on affordable housing trajectories could be provided for the Scrutiny Panel at a future meeting. 

·           Housing trajectory data for Oxford City was in the process of being updated to support the Oxford City Local Plan and was, therefore, an estimate.

·           A significant proportion of sites in the Oxford Local Plan housing trajectory would not have on site affordable housing – around 50 sites out of a total of 90. This was because the sites would be:

  • Student accommodation
  • Employer linked housing; or
  • Conversions under permitted development

·           A significant number of Oxford City sites were not large enough to trigger a requirement for affordable housing.

·           Based on a high-level calculation of future affordable housing supply, which assumed a 50% level of policy compliance, the number of new affordable homes in Oxford City was projected to be around 2,700 homes for the period between 2019 and 2036.

·           Changes had been made to the National Planning Policy Framework, (NPPF) which effected the way in the which the delivery of sites could be counted.

·           The challenges of providing future data on affordable homes trajectories were recognised by the Scrutiny Panel together with caveats around accuracy of any estimated data.  However, the Scrutiny Panel felt that it was achievable in the context of AMRs.

·           While estimated data over a four-year period was welcomed by the Panel, it was felt that annual data was more informative especially if provided in conjunction with information showing actual versus figures for affordable housing and affordable housing as a percentage of overall housing completions.

·           It was noted that it would be a more complicated process to compile this information.

·           The appetite of the Scrutiny Panel for monitoring information was positive, whilst recognising that there was a challenge in ensuring any monitoring information it requested added value.


RESOLVED: That Officers be asked to produce annualised housing and affordable housing trajectories with a graph comparing the actual versus forecast (4-year plan) and affordable housing as a percentage of overall housing completions derived from the Annual Monitoring Reports.

Supporting documents: