Call for Oxford Green Belt review to meet need for homes

A study has called for Oxford’s Green Belt to be reviewed to help provide much needed housing.

The study commissioned by Oxford City Council has concluded that there is only enough land left for just over 10,000 new homes, meeting up to 43% of the city’s housing need. A further 21,800 homes would be required to meet housing need in the city.

The Oxford Land Availability and Unmet Need Assessment identifies sites that have development potential for housing and student accommodation development from now until 2031. The new report does not, however, allocate land for residential development, which has to be done through a review of the Local Plan involving public consultation. A planning application would also have to be submitted before any of the sites could be developed. The study also factored in development completed in the last three years and assumed that around 180 homes per year would be built on smaller sites that have not yet been identified.

The study has identified two sites in the Green Belt that could come forward for development: at St Frideswide Farm on the edge of North Oxford, and opposite Redbridge Park and Ride on the edge of South Oxford. These are thought to have capacity for 150 and 180 homes respectively. However, the vast majority of sites are on brownfield land.

The study was co-authored by consultant URS, and has received input from the other district councils in Oxfordshire as well as the county council and other stakeholders.

The city council believes that the study provides irrefutable evidence of the need for a sustainable urban extension to meet Oxford’s housing needs. Councillor Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, said of the study, “This leaves us with no doubt that a strategic review of the Oxford Green Belt, to allow us to plan for a sustainable urban extension, is urgently needed.”

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