Oxford MailCouncils must work together to meet targets for new homes (From Oxford Mail)

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Councils must work together to meet targets for new homes

Oxford Mail: Pressure is being put on towns and villages over housing space Pressure is being put on towns and villages over housing space

LOCAL authorities across Oxfordshire are trying to work out where thousands of new homes can be built after the completion of a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).

The guidance will put pressure on towns and villages across the county and, inevitably, the Green Belt around Oxford.

The city council is currently considering plans for an 885-home scheme at Barton Park, and wants to build more new homes but is running out of land available for development.

For years it has been lobbying South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to allow it to build thousands of homes on SODC land outside the city’s boundaries but so far city council leaders have had no joy with their plea to build there and have called for a review of Oxford’s Green Belt.

For organisations like the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Green Belt is sacrosanct and should remain untouched but the demand for so many thousands of new homes means a review is almost inevitable.

The wrangle over the land near Grenoble Road has been going on for years and may not be resolved any time soon, so the city council will need to keep searching hard for new development opportunities as 30,000 houses is a huge number of new homes to accommodate, and would fill a town the size of Didcot.

Oxfordshire’s district councils may consider the SHMA targets to be unrealistic but they will now have to work together on an independent review to see if the allocations can be shared, and to decide where the new homes should go.

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