SIR – Like me, many of your readers will, I am sure, support the new campaign to build homes based on the needs of our communities, not encouraging greed of landowners and developers.

This campaign is led by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England ( I am disappointed however that West Oxfordshire District Council’s ruling Conservative Group is not prepared to debate the future of our communities and the need for housing.

At the last full council meeting I put forward the suggestion with my Labour council colleagues that we should support the National Housing Federation’s campaign “Yes to Homes” ( In supporting this campaign we would join thousands of councillors of all parties, and a number of councils including Oxford, as well as the Federation’s members who are not-for-profit housing associations, in calling for the right homes, in the right place, at the right price.

Conservative councillor after Conservative councillor lined up to lambast the campaign, and to oppose the suggestion that we discuss in public how to tackle the problem of affordable homes in the right places with the people we represent.

Councillor Sir Barry Norton blamed the lack of housing on housebuilders and said the council was blameless. Councillor Mills also said housebuilders are to blame for the lack of delivery. Councillor Chapman described the campaign as “absolutely ridiculous” and that me raising the issue of the sky-high house prices, now over 13 times the average wage in West Oxfordshire, was an “election manifesto from Duncan”. Well, too right it is, now, but it could have been an all-party discussion.

If the Conservatives in West Oxfordshire won’t debate in public how we can build affordable homes, in the right places to support our communities, and to safeguard the future of our towns and villages and their countryside heritage, then Labour councillors will.

Duncan Enright
Witney East councillor and leader of the Labour Group on WODC