Time to rethink housing policies

First published in Letters

Sir – Is it time to rethink local housing policy?

The recent Strategic Housing Market Assessment (Gazette, March 12) proposes a potential increase of more than 13,000 houses in West Oxfordshire over the next 20 years, an increase of more than 30 per cent.

This is based on an economic forecast carried out by Cambridge Econometrics, which can be accessed via the West Oxfordshire District Council website.

This report suggests that jobs in the district may increase by as few as 600, or by as many as 8,000-plus jobs over the same timescale.

The wide variation in these numbers confirms that such estimations are not an exact science.

Clearly there is a serious imbalance in the numbers.

Already we have a situation where a high proportion of the district’s workforce commutes to their place of employment outside it.

Our roads are already congested, some to the point of saturation with stationary traffic common at peak periods; and putting in place the above proposals will certainly make things worse.

We must hope that our councillors and planners stand firm and reject the Strategic Housing Market Assessment proposals, and that they recommend most strongly that large housing developments should in future be built near major centres of employment.

West Oxfordshire would then get a housing allocation more in line with its real needs.

And maybe then we can stop building huge estates in the district, and build the houses when and where they are needed in response to local demand. I am sure we would all benefit.

Selwyn Shorrock, Carterton Road, Brize Norton

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