Oxfordshire's Tories in homes revolt

The Oxford Times: Dr Helena Whall, Campaign to Protect Rural England campaign manager, said the SMHA is ‘unsound’ Dr Helena Whall, Campaign to Protect Rural England campaign manager, said the SMHA is ‘unsound’

OXFORDSHIRE’s Conservative MPs and council leaders have revolted against the Government’s recommended housing calculation of 100,000 new homes for the county.

The Oxford Times:

Conservative MPs Ed Vaizey (Wantage) above, and John Howell (Henley) have called on the Government to urgently review the method for calculating the figures, and all four Conservative district leaders are to challenge them.

Meanwhile, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has employed a specialist officer to find flaws in the Government-imposed methodology.

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), published in March, recommends that councils build 40,000 more homes than their own previous targets by 2031.

Wantage MP Mr Vaizey said: “Many local communities are now faced with levels of growth that will fundamentally change the nature of settlements.

“Demographic trends show that the Vale of White Horse needs 468 houses per year, yet the methodology leads to a figure of 1,028.”

In a letter wrote to planning minister Nick Boles Mr Vaizey said: “I would be very grateful if you and your officers could consider an urgent review of the planning methodology that leads to such massive numbers of homes being planned so that more realistic outcomes result.”

The Oxford Times: John Howell

John Howell 

Henley MP Dr Howell backed the call, adding: “The SHMA is not a tested document; it is evidence only.”

The county’s district council leaders, Matthew Barber, Ann Ducker, Barry Norton and Barry Wood, all backed the call for an urgent review.

South Oxfordshire leader Mrs Ducker said: “This is causing great concern and those that have looked at the methodology are questioning it.”

Oxfordshire’s council leaders will meet on May 29, and Mrs
Ducker said she would like to use that meeting to work out how to challenge the SHMA.

The Oxford Times: Andrew Smith MP

Andrew Smith


West Oxfordshire District Council leader Barry Norton said his planning officers were already looking into the SHMA to see if the district’s calculated need of 13,200 was accurate.

He said: “I think the number is wrong for West Oxfordshire, and if our officers decide it is inaccurate we will be challenging it.”

Vale of White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber said: “We are supportive of that. Any changes which could be favourable for the Vale we would be grateful for.”

Cherwell leader Barry Wood said: “I would agree with Matt, Ann and Barry, the numbers are very high and it won’t do any harm to test their validity.”

The Oxford Times:

South Oxfordshire leader Ann Ducker

All councils are required by the Government to carry out regular SHMAs to ensure they are building enough homes.

Oxfordshire’s five district council’s contracted a partnership of private firms – GL Hearn Justin Gardner Consulting and SQW Consulting – to carry out the latest.

CPRE Oxfordshire has employed campaign manager Dr Helena Whall to discredit the SHMA methodology and the arguments it is based on.

Dr Whall said: “We feel the SHMA is unsound, unacceptable and unwanted. We are not happy with the strategic plan for Oxfordshire, such as expansion of the Science Vale, which is where these housing figures come from.

“They want to provide more jobs and therefore they need more
houses.”

She also said she wants to dispel the myth that building more
houses would lower house prices.

She said: “Builders only build them if they can sell them.”

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price and Oxford East Labour MP Andrew Smith, however, backed the SHMA figure.

Mr Smith said: “You can always argue about these sorts of numbers, but the bottom line for me is all the people coming to my advice surgeries and stopping me in the street because they are in desperate need of better housing.”

The Oxford Times: Sir Tony Baldry


Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry, above, said people needed to recognise an “increasing number of people wanting to come and live in Oxfordshire”.

The Oxford Times: Nicola Blackwood

Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood, above, said: “Clearly I would welcome a review of the housing need calculation for Oxfordshire as well as greater flexibility for councils to find local housing solutions.

“However, nothing will change the fact that sky-high house prices and jobs growth mean we do need to build houses locally, so my priority is to ensure all development has the necessary infrastructure to support it and does not unacceptably damage the Green Belt.”

We asked Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron’s office for a response but did not receive a comment.

Comments (15)

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11:07am Tue 13 May 14

Danny A says...

On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.
On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences. Danny A
  • Score: 1

11:16am Tue 13 May 14

mytaxes says...

There can be no problem in the city if both a Labour MP and Labour council leader state that greyhound racing comes before houses.
There can be no problem in the city if both a Labour MP and Labour council leader state that greyhound racing comes before houses. mytaxes
  • Score: 3

11:36am Tue 13 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Once you have moved into a new home, I'd recommend you take a look through archive newspapers to see which politicians, campaign groups and local councillors did their best to try and stop you living there.

Then consider that carefully when they doorstep you looking for money or your vote...
Once you have moved into a new home, I'd recommend you take a look through archive newspapers to see which politicians, campaign groups and local councillors did their best to try and stop you living there. Then consider that carefully when they doorstep you looking for money or your vote... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 6

11:52am Tue 13 May 14

jennie65 says...

The council is quick to tell people they cannot and will not help with housing as their is a shortage of affordable housing in this area. and then they say we do not need to build any. Its ok for those that live in their nice big comfy houses to preach to the rest of us about not needing a decent place to live. Walk a mile people.
The council is quick to tell people they cannot and will not help with housing as their is a shortage of affordable housing in this area. and then they say we do not need to build any. Its ok for those that live in their nice big comfy houses to preach to the rest of us about not needing a decent place to live. Walk a mile people. jennie65
  • Score: 10

12:43pm Tue 13 May 14

Squirrel15 says...

Danny A wrote:
On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.
There is no such thing as "public money"
it is TAXPAYERS money.

So I expect those in exclusive rural residences as you put it have contributed through those national and local taxes they pay to your superfast broadband roll out as well as their own.
[quote][p][bold]Danny A[/bold] wrote: On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.[/p][/quote]There is no such thing as "public money" it is TAXPAYERS money. So I expect those in exclusive rural residences as you put it have contributed through those national and local taxes they pay to your superfast broadband roll out as well as their own. Squirrel15
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Tue 13 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Squirrel15 wrote:
Danny A wrote:
On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.
There is no such thing as "public money"
it is TAXPAYERS money.

So I expect those in exclusive rural residences as you put it have contributed through those national and local taxes they pay to your superfast broadband roll out as well as their own.
Broadband in urban environments like Oxford are pretty much installed on fully commercial terms rather than funded through taxation.
[quote][p][bold]Squirrel15[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Danny A[/bold] wrote: On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.[/p][/quote]There is no such thing as "public money" it is TAXPAYERS money. So I expect those in exclusive rural residences as you put it have contributed through those national and local taxes they pay to your superfast broadband roll out as well as their own.[/p][/quote]Broadband in urban environments like Oxford are pretty much installed on fully commercial terms rather than funded through taxation. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 8

2:40pm Tue 13 May 14

DuncanStott says...

In the absence of a comment from David Cameron, here's what he said in his 2012 address to Conservative party Conference:

"And then there are those who say “yes of course we need more housing” but “no” to every development – and not in my backyard.
Look - it's OK for my generation. Many of us have got on the ladder. But you know the average age that someone buys their first home today, without any help for their parents? 33 years old. We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on."

Oxfordshire's Conservatives need to listen to the words their own leader and stop opposing these desperately needed new homes.
In the absence of a comment from David Cameron, here's what he said in his 2012 address to Conservative party Conference: "And then there are those who say “yes of course we need more housing” but “no” to every development – and not in my backyard. Look - it's OK for my generation. Many of us have got on the ladder. But you know the average age that someone buys their first home today, without any help for their parents? 33 years old. We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on." Oxfordshire's Conservatives need to listen to the words their own leader and stop opposing these desperately needed new homes. DuncanStott
  • Score: 4

3:45pm Tue 13 May 14

Patrick, Devon says...

CPRE and the other poker faced denialists and NIMBYs would do well to read what the Oxford Civic Society says. Put the infrastructure in first and develop the region in a way that doesnt degrade the environment.
CPRE and the other poker faced denialists and NIMBYs would do well to read what the Oxford Civic Society says. Put the infrastructure in first and develop the region in a way that doesnt degrade the environment. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: 1

7:45pm Tue 13 May 14

Megs says...

According to an estate agent I was chatting with last week, (someone's got to do it) the real strategic plan for Oxfordshire is to provide homes for all those that want to move out of now unliveable-in London, particularly families - incidentally cashing in on current price hikes there. It's not so much to do with jobs in the county as with perceived ease of commuting. Sounds plausible.
According to an estate agent I was chatting with last week, (someone's got to do it) the real strategic plan for Oxfordshire is to provide homes for all those that want to move out of now unliveable-in London, particularly families - incidentally cashing in on current price hikes there. It's not so much to do with jobs in the county as with perceived ease of commuting. Sounds plausible. Megs
  • Score: 1

9:39pm Tue 13 May 14

LeeUpcraft says...

The SHMA report displays a systematic bias towards the assumption that previous housing estimates are too small and must be increased. It is full of apparently subjective comments. It is being used as evidence for a massive increase in housing requirements but only the summary document, not the complete report, has been publicly available.
Finally, Vale of White Horse councillor Michael Murray, at a public meeting in Shrivenham back in March, acknowledged that the document has not been independently reviewed.
The entire SHMA document is nothing but a sham.
http://www.ukipwanta
ge.org/news-the-sham
-shma.html
The SHMA report displays a systematic bias towards the assumption that previous housing estimates are too small and must be increased. It is full of apparently subjective comments. It is being used as evidence for a massive increase in housing requirements but only the summary document, not the complete report, has been publicly available. Finally, Vale of White Horse councillor Michael Murray, at a public meeting in Shrivenham back in March, acknowledged that the document has not been independently reviewed. The entire SHMA document is nothing but a sham. http://www.ukipwanta ge.org/news-the-sham -shma.html LeeUpcraft
  • Score: -3

9:46pm Tue 13 May 14

faatmaan says...

lets see how many more homes are deflected away from Oxford city and either into less powerful town locations or into other counties, and whilst where on the matter of housing just where are these enormous amounts of people in dire need of housing, you don't see or hear of many homeless n this area, suspect this is partly a ploy for certain parts of the property chain to move on , consolidate their debts into a new mortgage, payback for their support.
lets see how many more homes are deflected away from Oxford city and either into less powerful town locations or into other counties, and whilst where on the matter of housing just where are these enormous amounts of people in dire need of housing, you don't see or hear of many homeless n this area, suspect this is partly a ploy for certain parts of the property chain to move on , consolidate their debts into a new mortgage, payback for their support. faatmaan
  • Score: -1

7:12am Wed 14 May 14

mytaxes says...

Megs wrote:
According to an estate agent I was chatting with last week, (someone's got to do it) the real strategic plan for Oxfordshire is to provide homes for all those that want to move out of now unliveable-in London, particularly families - incidentally cashing in on current price hikes there. It's not so much to do with jobs in the county as with perceived ease of commuting. Sounds plausible.
They will be in for a shock when they realise how much council tax they have to pay to live in the city compared to London.
[quote][p][bold]Megs[/bold] wrote: According to an estate agent I was chatting with last week, (someone's got to do it) the real strategic plan for Oxfordshire is to provide homes for all those that want to move out of now unliveable-in London, particularly families - incidentally cashing in on current price hikes there. It's not so much to do with jobs in the county as with perceived ease of commuting. Sounds plausible.[/p][/quote]They will be in for a shock when they realise how much council tax they have to pay to live in the city compared to London. mytaxes
  • Score: 0

8:35am Wed 14 May 14

bishbosh says...

Affordable housing is a myth. Council's cannot afford to build social and genuinely affordable housing as in the fifties and sixties. I guess the governments of the day no longer trust local authorities to spend money wisely as the support grants shrink. Building homes is now left to major private construction companies and housing associations who are rapidly turning into private developers. Housing Associations have complained they are hamstrung by restricitve social and affordable rent level requirements. RSL's can now charge up to 80% of the market rate and call it affordable. I applaud Oxford Council for sticking to their guns and not allowing a free for all house build of which the vast majority will not be affordable and ease local housing needs.
Affordable housing is a myth. Council's cannot afford to build social and genuinely affordable housing as in the fifties and sixties. I guess the governments of the day no longer trust local authorities to spend money wisely as the support grants shrink. Building homes is now left to major private construction companies and housing associations who are rapidly turning into private developers. Housing Associations have complained they are hamstrung by restricitve social and affordable rent level requirements. RSL's can now charge up to 80% of the market rate and call it affordable. I applaud Oxford Council for sticking to their guns and not allowing a free for all house build of which the vast majority will not be affordable and ease local housing needs. bishbosh
  • Score: 3

11:26am Wed 14 May 14

Danny A says...

Squirrel15 wrote:
Danny A wrote:
On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.
There is no such thing as "public money"
it is TAXPAYERS money.

So I expect those in exclusive rural residences as you put it have contributed through those national and local taxes they pay to your superfast broadband roll out as well as their own.
What?! Do private individuals and corporations issue pounds? I think not.
Ultimately "tax payers" money is issued by the state via the Bank of England.
I recall it was Thatcher who initiated this lie that there is no government money and that it comes from private individuals and businesses. However, clearly if they do try to create money it is the criminal act of forgery!

Anyway that detail aside, most public works alter land values which commonly result in a windfall gain to the land owner at the expense of everyone else. As a counter example, how much would your house be worth if the council removed the road so no one could get to it?
[quote][p][bold]Squirrel15[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Danny A[/bold] wrote: On the other hand they gladly accept public money to roll superfast broadband out to their exclusive rural residences.[/p][/quote]There is no such thing as "public money" it is TAXPAYERS money. So I expect those in exclusive rural residences as you put it have contributed through those national and local taxes they pay to your superfast broadband roll out as well as their own.[/p][/quote]What?! Do private individuals and corporations issue pounds? I think not. Ultimately "tax payers" money is issued by the state via the Bank of England. I recall it was Thatcher who initiated this lie that there is no government money and that it comes from private individuals and businesses. However, clearly if they do try to create money it is the criminal act of forgery! Anyway that detail aside, most public works alter land values which commonly result in a windfall gain to the land owner at the expense of everyone else. As a counter example, how much would your house be worth if the council removed the road so no one could get to it? Danny A
  • Score: 0

7:45pm Thu 15 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

The headline could've just been "Tories are revolting"......
.........says it all
The headline could've just been "Tories are revolting"...... .........says it all Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

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