WE ALL know that Oxford is one of the most expensive cities to live in the country – it is spoken about almost every day.

If asked whether we wanted the city to be more affordable and accessible to those who are not on high-incoming salaries, most residents, we hope, would answer with a hearty yes.

But there is a lack of space in this city – which is perhaps why our district council’s and planning developers feel the need to find these ‘pockets of green land’ to build on, rather than finding alternative sites across the city.

Read here: More than 55,000 people sign to stop council building homes on green fields

The grazing meadows in Iffley Village are just one example of these valued, green fields that are set to disappear.

Over the next fifteen years, if all goes to plan, the county will see tens of thousands of houses, a proportion of which are set to be ‘affordable’, springing up on what will by then be long-forgotten green fields.

In the middle of a climate crisis and a global pandemic, which has proved the importance of outdoor spaces more than ever before, is it really the time to start diminishing what little green space we have left.

Just this week the UN's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported a 'code red for humanity' stating that the latest findings were a 'wake up call' for governments all over the world.

Last week, the city council once again acknowledged that globally we are in the midst of a climate emergency subsequently explaining its need to achieve net-zero by 2040 - but with more homes, creating more emissions, is this really going to be possible?

The climate is not the only issue we may encounter if our little green fields start to vanish.

Oxford is a city renowned for its outstanding beauty – and this by no means is simply referring to the century-old architecture that creates the city’s skyline.

No, the large green parks, enchanting meadows, and flowing streams, often just a stones-throw away from the city centre are what adds to our city’s unique feel.

Read here: 'Oxford needs homes': council defends housing decision

It is about treading a careful balance, however.

As much as there is a need to preserve our ‘green patches’, both to help with carbon capture and improve everyone’s mental well-being, this is not an isolated discussion.

Parents will want their children, born and raised across the city, to have the option to live and buy a home in Oxford, if they do so wish.

Hospital patients will hope that the nurses who looked after them all day at the John Radcliffe Hospital will not have to travel out of the county each night before they get into bed for some well-deserved rest.

After all, do we want to live in a city that only welcomes the elite who can afford to live here?

Or do we want to create a culture that embraces everyone, from every socio-economic background?

The council has difficult decisions to make when it comes to balancing these needs and perhaps there is a better solution.

If we could optimize the derelict, brownfield sites across the city, and the shop units that have remained empty for years, wouldn’t that be better than destroying our wilderness?

But maybe that is too idealistic.