CIRCUS-goers have often marvelled at contortionists, bending their bodies in barely believable ways to fit into tiny spaces.

It is a trick city planners are increasingly likely to have to try and replicate with their housing plans as Oxford fills up.

Space is running out, with city council leader Bob Price saying we will reach capacity by 2020.

With the Strategic Housing Marketing Assessment (SHMA) saying the city needs to build 28,000 homes, the burning question is where will they go?

It is a question that does not seem to have an obvious answer.

Mr Price claims every site that could be used for houses will be developed by the end of the decade, but there will still be a huge shortfall.

The council is looking at areas outside the city, but will need to demonstrate expert diplomacy to get other district councils to allow them to build, when those local authorities are struggling to meet their own housing targets.

Something will have to give soon, or else the growing housing crisis will reach breaking point.

We now have a timetable, or perhaps that should be more like a housing doomsday clock.

What is needed is action from all parties involved to try to reach a resolution.

New thinking is essential and it may involve some unpalatable suggestions. But we have to come up with something and soon.

The clock is ticking.