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Study may boost city’s hope of a Grenoble Road estate
A MAJOR study which council bosses hope will see 2,000 more homes built on Oxford’s border is set to be completed this month.
The county’s five district councils have been forced to club together to order the independent study after a national ruling.
Property consultants GL Hearn are set to deliver the “strategic housing market assessment” (SHMA) for Oxfordshire this month.
This will be used by the councils to determine how many homes they need to plan to meet public demand.
Labour-run Oxford City Council hopes the results will strengthen its call for 2,000 homes to be built just outside its border.
Its call for homes off Grenoble Road, Greater Leys, is opposed by Tory-run South Oxfordshire District Council, which covers the area.
However the leader of Oxford City Council Bob Price said: “We have made it clear for over a decade now that it’s an aspiration of the city council to have a development at Grenoble Road.
“The housing crisis has only got worse and the waiting list for housing in Oxford is more than 5,000 people. There are significant economic problems for employers wishing to employ people in Oxford because the cost of housing is so high.
“A development in Grenoble Road is part of our plan for economic growth and we are hoping to push forward with discussions about it."
Brian Wood, chairman of the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, believes the housing study will lead to the Green Belt coming under more pressure.
“We are against this in the sense we think the reason for Oxford’s Green Belt is to preserve the setting of the city and urban sprawl is the last thing we want. I think Oxford City Council’s intention is to build houses on the Green Belt.”
Yet city council executive board member for city development Colin Cook said: “Clearly Oxford is desperately short of housing and it is no secret that we see south of Grenoble Road as a very suitable site for said development. But the SHMA is not just to build houses there, it is for housing across Oxfordshire.
“The CPRE is wrong to say that the Green Belt is sacrosanct. The quality of the Green Belt south of Grenoble Road is not high and we look forward to a review of it.”
The need for a new SHMA was triggered by a Planning Inspectorate ruling that North Warwickshire Borough Council’s 2008 SHMA was out-of-date. Oxfordshire’s is a year older, so the five councils have to produce a new one between them.
Cherwell, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire district councils have yet to finalise their “local plans” on where major estates should go in the coming two decades.
They have had to revise these in light of the SHMA.
The five district councils and Oxfordshire County Council are co-ordinating plans through the Oxfordshire Spatial Planning and Infrastructure Partnership.
Spokesman Andy Roberts said: “The strategic housing market assessment is an independent assessment of the housing need across Oxfordshire as a whole.
“The report will be published in the new year, when the outcomes of the study will be assessed by each of the local authorities, who will decide how what it says may affect their areas.”
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