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City council set to press on with new affordable homes
SEVEN schemes which will boost the number of affordable homes across Oxford are set to get the go-ahead tomorrow.
Almost 90 properties are included in the proposals – the biggest one being plans for 48 homes on land at East Minchery allotments.
But Oxford City Council has admitted it won’t be enough to address the problem of affordable housing provision.
In July city council leader Bob Price admitted that “nowhere near” enough affordable homes were being built in Oxford to meet the demand.
The authority estimated that it needs to build around 2,000 affordable homes every year but over the next eight years the authority will be spending £60m on building up to 1,000 homes for the thousands of people on the housing waiting list.
Tomorrow night, a special meeting of the city council’s east area planning committee will be held at 6pm at the Town Hall, St Aldate’s, to discuss whether the seven developments for affordable housing – with a combined number of 88 homes – should go ahead.
Last night, Mr Price said: “These are really small sites that we are trying to make better use of.
“But they don’t address the problem of affordable housing both to rent or to buy, and in the longer term there can only be one solution which is to have one significant site to develop.
“Given the constraints on Oxford’s boundary that means looking outside the city.”
One of the schemes which has already been given permission is the demolition and rebuilding of Bradlands in Old Marston, where 49 new flats will replace the 30 which were built in the 1960s.
Malcolm Everton, 65, has been moved out of Bradlands temporarily while rebuilding takes place.
He said: “Housing in Oxford is quite expensive and in some places it is slightly more expensive than London. It is fantastic that the city council is investing in places like Bradlands.”
The city council currently has around 7,800 social houses. In addition there are another 3,800 which are provided by registered social landlords.
At the moment there are 4,799 households on Oxford City Council’s housing waiting list.
One of those is 49-year-old Debbie Hollingsworth, who has been waiting for a home for 11 years.
She said: “Being on the waiting list is extremely frustrating. I have no hope of council housing, I think.
“I have been on the list for 11 years and I am still in band five because I don’t fall into any of the priorities.”
Ms Hollingsworth came to Oxford in 2002 to study at Ruskin College and has been on the housing waiting list since 2003.
She decided to stay in Oxford when her five-year course finished and now does outreach work for people having housing problems.
Another 354 affordable homes will be built at Barton West as part of the long-awaited development which the east area planning committee will make a decision on later this month.
ALL the schemes submitted by Oxford City Council have been recommended for approval. They are:
The depot at Headington’s Bury Knowle Park to be turned into two one-bedroom houses, seven two-bedroom houses and one three-bedroom house arranged around a central courtyard.
A garage block in Leiden Road, Wood Farm, to be demolished to make way for three three-bedroom houses.
Three two-bedroom houses to be built on land behind Thompson Terrace in Littlemore.
10 three-bedroom houses to be built on land east of Warren Crescent in Headington.
Alice Smith House in Littlemore to be demolished to make way for three two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom houses.
48 homes to be built on the East Minchery allotments including four one-bedroom flats, eight two-bedroom flats, four two-bedroom houses, 26 three-bedroom houses and six four-bedroom houses.
Three two-bedroom houses to be built at Cardinal Close, Oxford.
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