When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
SODC accused of 'ignoring housing needs'
OXFORD has accused a neighbouring council of “ignoring” the city’s acute housing shortage.
The college and city council indicated this week they have not given up on the scheme to build on Magdalen College-owned land, close to the Kassam Stadium.
But the Green Belt site falls within the boundaries of SODC, which has always opposed the development.
A planning inspector is currently examining SODC’s core strategy, a document that will shape future planning decisions.
The city council and Magdalen College say SODC must take full account of Oxford’s housing needs as a neighbouring authority.
They point to the Government’s new planning framework, which places an obligations on neighbouring councils to work together.
City Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “The argument put to the inspector by Magdalen College and ourselves is that SODC has chosen to ignore the housing needs of the city.
“These needs have been well documented yet are greater than can be accommodated within the city’s administrative area.”
Magdalen College bursar Charles Young added: “This is a crucial issue for Oxford. Grenoble Road happens to be just one element in the story of Oxford housing.”
The bursar said he remained confident that the site would eventually be developed.
He added: “It remains, in the city council’s view too, the best medium-term solution, allowing people to live close to where they work.
“The infrastructure is already there, down to the bus routes.
“As far as I am aware there is no alternative site of similar size around the city.”
But Michael Tyce, of the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “We thought we had laid this to rest many times but it keeps coming back.”
SODC spokesman Martin Crabtree said the inspector’s examination would not make any difference to the district council’s opposition to housing on the site.
He said: “The council successfully fought the proposals in the South East Plan to build 4,000 homes on Green Belt land in South Oxfordshire a few years ago.
“There is nothing to suggest that the inspector will seek to, or be able to, overturn this by including the proposals in our core strategy.”
The scheme was the subject of a High Court battle, when Green Belt campaigners took legal action to have it removed from the South East Plan.
The regional plan, which was to act as a blueprint for housing development across the whole of the region outside London, was scrapped when the coalition Goverment came into power.