SOME Oxford residents have been housed more than 100 miles away as the city struggles to come to terms with the housing crisis, the Oxford Mail can reveal.

The city council said it had moved people to Telford in Shropshire – 109 miles away – and Walsall and Birmingham, both in the West Midlands, to get them into the private rental sector and out of expensive Oxford.

Others have been moved out to Worcester, Evesham and Pershore, all in Worcestershire. Other destinations out of the city have included Swindon, Kingston, Cheltenham and Stonehouse, near Stroud.

According to the city council, the number of households in its temporary accommodation hit a 20-year low at the end of March 2017. At that time, 87 were in the council’s temporary homes – but that had slowly crept back up to 106 at the end of January 2018.

In March the city council said there are about 3,300 households on its Housing Register. It said the majority of those ‘may never be offered’ a tenancy from the council or a housing association.

Charity Shelter blamed a lack of investment for the housing crisis, not just in Oxford but across the country.

While Liz Brighouse, the Labour Party’s group leader on Oxfordshire County Council, said many people were moving out of Oxford because they cannot afford the cost of living.

Mrs Brighouse, who represents Churchill and Lye Valley, said: “The evidence from my division is that lots of people are being [moved] because there’s not housing that they can afford in the city.

"Obviously some people might want to travel to those areas – such as Walsall and Telford – but the majority of people want to stay in the city. There’s a desperate need to get more affordable housing in the city.

“We will have to make sure the homes are available. We should push for Grenoble Road and make sure that housing is built there.”

The Grenoble Road site, south of Oxford, could be included in South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan. That was rejected last month by councillors and if the contentious proposal to build on Chalgrove Airfield is dropped, the proposal for 3,500 homes could be revitalised and provide much needed affordable housing on Oxford’s fringe.

The average price to rent a room in Oxford is about £870 for a month, while a three- bedroom house is likely to cost about £1,500 per month.

Housing benefit paid to tenants by the Government is usually just a fraction of what they can expect to pay for rent in Oxford, leaving an unaffordable total they still must make up themselves.

The city council said it does not routinely house people in temporary accommodation in hotels or bed and breakfasts, preferring to accommodate people in their own housing stock.

Those homes are in Oxford and across Oxfordshire.

It said it only used B&Bs for people "as a last resort". There is evidence that this choice is used far more regularly by neighbouring authorities.

The city council runs hostels in Abingdon Road and Littlemore and owns other temporary accommodation for the city’s residents in Oxford, Bicester and Didcot.

It was unavailable for comment but last November blamed housing benefit rates. It said housing benefit figures, set nationally, were insufficient to fund the rent of many homes in Oxford. Therefore, it said, it had to look outside the city for accommodation, usually in Oxfordshire.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, said: “Decades of failure to build social homes, coupled with severe cuts to housing benefit are inflicting deep wounds on a generation of children growing up without a home.

“Every day we see the bruising toll that living in unstable temporary accommodation, especially B&Bs and hostels, takes on people’s lives. We see children routinely fall behind at school and their health and happiness left in tatters, while their parents suffer with the heart-breaking belief they’ve failed their children. Really it should be governments shouldering this blame.

“If the current government wants to prevent these families from carrying the scars of homelessness for the rest of their lives, it must act now to build the social homes needed to end this crisis for good.”

According to Rightmove, the average house price for Oxford was £507,883. Prices are nine per cent up from 2015.

A house in Cowley is likely to cost at least £400,000, but another in Jericho will normally set a buyer back by at least £1m.

Conversely, house prices in Telford are much more affordable. The average price of a home there is just £167,660.

An Oxford Mail reader and city council tenant fled to Oxford after being a victim of domestic violence in London.

She said her children had grown up in the city and would be reluctant to move elsewhere. She added it would be difficult to support her grandchildren if she had been moved miles away.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Why are they being moved to Telford when they might have been born and brought up here?”

As part of Oxfordshire’s district councils’ plans 100,000 new homes are pencilled in for the county over the next 15 years.

But worries have been raised about the affordability of some of them for people on average incomes. In Barton Park, a one-bedroom flat will cost £300,000, with a three-bedroom home clocking in at a pricey £595,000.