Agenda item

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 


One member of the public had registered to ask a question.


Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager, read out the following question on behalf of Julia Benning, Need not Greed Oxfordshire:


“Need not Greed Oxfordshire (NNGO) understands that the Oxfordshire Councils are currently involved in discussions around the level of housing to be included in the next draft of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. 


There are a staggering 85,000 dwellings already committed to in existing local plans.  The number of additional dwellings which might be included in the Oxfordshire Plan range from 16,000 to 67,000 (as per the Reg 18 consultation).  


Need Not Greed believes that no more than the lowest number of additional dwellings should be built, and possibly many less.  Anything else would be incompatible with this local authority’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency and the need to address nature’s recovery.


We are concerned that Local Authorities might regard the middle housing trajectory, which is inappropriately called ‘Business as Usual’, as a reasonable compromise between the highest and lowest housing targets.  In fact, it is based on a period of high growth following recession and as such it is clearly not ‘Business as Usual’ and should in no way be regarded as 'middle ground'. 


We would like to know this Council's views on:

1.  The ‘Business as Usual’ trajectory

2.  The number of dwellings that should be built in Oxfordshire in the period to 2050.”


Councillor Simpson, Cabinet member for planning, responded as follows:


“I understand and share concerns about the high level of additional homes that were committed to by the previous administration under the terms of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. I and officers are working with our partner councils in Oxfordshire to identify and agree an appropriate evidence base for the Oxfordshire Plan which will run to 2050. The Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment (OGNA) was published in 2020, and provides analysis of three broad housing need scenarios for the Councils, which may be appropriate for Council to consider as a starting point for the identifying a housing target for the new plan.   The Council is aware that other evidence and models of housing need exist.


These scenarios were an application of: (1) the government’s “standard method” for assessing housing need; (2) a “business as usual” scenario that sought to project forward past growth trends; and then (3) a “transformational growth” scenario that sought to deliver the aspirations of the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy. South Oxfordshire District Council is continuing to work with its partners to determine which of these is an appropriate housing need calculation method on which to base the 2050 plan. This process is still ongoing, and we cannot state which of these scenarios will be chosen at this stage.


However, the Council is aware of the potential tensions between higher levels of housing growth, the current and most likely future economic environment and its commitments to address the climate and ecological crises. As a Council, we have yet to come to a final view on whether or not exceptional circumstances exist that would justify going beyond the “standard method”, but we do note that exceptional circumstances would need to exist for Oxfordshire’s Housing Need to go above that indicated by the standard method.  The outcomes of the recent consultation remain under consideration.”