Homes England is CPOing the Wrong Oxford Airfield

Inside Housing

The government agency, which was launched from the former Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) last week, has issued a warning to aircraft parts designer Martin-Baker Aircraft Company that it will use CPO powers “as appropriate”.

The company has a lease on the site running through to 2063 which is delaying the planned development of 3,000 homes on the Chalgrove airfield in South Oxfordshire.

At the Autumn Budget, chancellor Philip Hammond said the new Homes England would have additional powers to drive the development of new homes, including compulsory purchase where necessary.

In a statement published online this morning, the agency announced it is considering using these powers to bring the airfield development forwards, should other means fail.

This would represent the first use of these new powers.

The statement said: “Homes England confirms that the shareholder board of Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Limited (MBACL) has rejected our latest formal approach to work with us on developing plans for a housing-led development at Chalgrove Airfield in Oxfordshire.

“While we are disappointed by this decision we will continue to look to work with MBACL to agree private treaty terms, if at all possible. However, as a last resort, Homes England confirm that we will seek all necessary approvals for the use of our statutory powers including, as appropriate, compulsory purchase orders (CPO)s to bring this much needed new housing development to fruition.

Chalgrove is a terrible site for housing, 17 miles, and a 3/4 drive through bad roads, to Oxford and without any rail connections.  It is only pursued by South Oxfordshire because they dont like the obvious site, South of Grenoble Road, because it is in the Green Belt, even though it is already publicly owned.  If Homes England were to CPO a site it should be Oxford Airfield which sits in the heart of the Begbroke/Yarnton area which is the favored and largest development area around Oxford, shifting the airfields activities to Charngrove.  This is the very example of non joined up government activity – premature until there is a proper Oxford-MK-Cambridge strategy setting out the favoured sites for growth – with joined up infrastructure – around Oxford

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