Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Make the MoD homes count towards total
3:30pm Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Letters
Sir – Your article Error sees return of housing estate fears (Gazette, May 23) indicates that although the MoD has freed up a significant area of land for private development, it won’t actually count.
Most of the hundreds of private houses built there will be in addition to the 1,600 homes already allocated to Carterton – a double whammy for this small town.
The MoD houses were counted as private in 2001. Clearly, they weren’t needed then.
The district’s private residents were living in the remaining homes, just at a slightly higher occupancy than assumed.
The 2001 figures were projected forward to 2011 and used to set targets for 2026. The MoD houses are still counted as private, but remain unnecessary for private residents as they are either demolished, vacant or occupied by services families.
The future housing need is based only on population growth, so the 4,300 target won’t be altered by incorrect housing classifications made back in 2001.
If MoD land is freed up for private development then it must count towards the target. After all, once the VC10s are de-commissioned, the number of servicemen will drop by 1,000, which is consistent with a falling need for MoD housing.
Of course, those remaining should be afforded decent, new houses.
All the population growth will be in the 65-plus age band. Why then are we targeting estates of family houses, which traditionally attract few over-65s?
West Oxfordshire District Council calculates a population growth of 7,300. Yet 4,300 houses like those at Madley Park will house 11,610, based on the measured occupancy rate of 2.7.
I understand the desire to build houses. It generates short-term benefits from developers and bonuses from the Government.
There is pressure to stimulate the economy. However, the funding often doesn’t match the infrastructure costs incurred to support expansion, so long-term, it doesn’t stack up financially.
If we continue to over-provide, ultimately supply will outstrip demand and the market will collapse. This keeps happening and last time, it led to the current long-standing recession.
Infill rates are strong and there is potential to build on brownfield sites, particularly in Carterton, so do we really need a vast single strategic site on top of the MoD land?
Growth across the nation is set to slow in future decades, once the Government has fulfiled its promise to lower immigration to a sustainable level. So, let’s not spoil our open countryside when it’s not necessary.
Justine Garbutt, Alvescot Road, Alvescot