South Oxfordshire Respond to Kit Malthouse on Cam_MK_Ox Corridor


Dear Rt. Hon. Kit Malthouse MP,
RE: Ambitious Housing Growth in the OxCam Corridor
Thank you for your letter dated 26 July and the continued dialogue regarding the
proposed expressway.
I would welcome your clarification for the justification of the one million new homes proposed across the corridor and what, if any, geographical distribution is expected. I wish also to clarify whether the one million new homes by 2050 includes the existing  ambitious planned growth, particularly for the Oxfordshire authorities, who have signed up to a Housing and Growth Deal (2018).
Further to your invitation, we are currently undertaking a review of strategic housing sites for the South Oxfordshire Local Plan with a timetable that seeks to submit the plan for examination in March 2019. Officers have commenced work on the necessary review of sites which could be capable of providing a strategic allocation.
This timetable accords with the milestones set out in the Oxfordshire Housing and
Growth Deal agreed between the partner Oxfordshire authorities and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to accelerate the delivery of housing and help ensure we get “early” deliverability.
The timescales we are working to are focussed on preparing a Publication version of
the South Oxfordshire Local Plan and this does not appear to align with the expected
announcement of the OxCam corridor, now delayed to Autumn 2018. Until the route
of the expressway is known, I am surprised that your invitation for the identification of potential new settlements has been raised.

We are keen to continue working with colleagues to deliver the growth deal and look forward to preparing the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan for Oxfordshire – an avenue through which new settlements might be more appropriately explored.

I would like to seek an assurance from you that Government would not impose new
settlements and I would welcome further opportunities for engagement in the process and for further consultation on the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Corridor.

The 100,000 figure in theOxfordshire Growth deal is just OAN from teh SHAM, the 1 million figure comes from the Savills Report commissioned by the NIC, have South Oxfordshire read it? It includes some London overspill in addition using a back of teh envelope method.  Its already out of date given MHLGs standard OAn method- which produces wierd results in Cambridge and Oxford due to the dodgy changes in assumptions on migration and attributable population change.  Expect the 1 million figure to need upgrading once the ministry retabulate the population and household projections to the 300,000/annum national figure.

What is needed here is clarification on early delivery through growth deals, and extra delivery through Garden Communities etc, which in part is linked to the corridor final route, though for S Oxon this is just an excuse as they know broadly what will be announced as does everybody in Oxfordshire.   That extra delivery may well be more than 1 million, as teh corridor was never clearly defined as Savills used 20 year old TTWAs.  Onc ethe London Plan EiP clarifies what is a realistic and not a unicorn housing delivery rate for London the number required I expect to rise considerably above 1 million.  The risk is that stalling tactics may just produce a later government imposed number well over 1 million.  This should be seen as a test setting up South Oxfordshire to fail – look we gave them an opportunity to plan for major growth- they failed so they cant be trusted to locally lead.  They are falling straight into the trap set.

Kit Malthouse Finally Kicks off Oxford-MK-Cambridge Project – but why hush hush?

Letter to Local Planning authorities.  In March Sajid Javid promised announcements on 4 new towns – ‘within 4 weeks’ – it has taken 6 months.  Why the delay – well we have had 3 housing ministers and a department overwhelmed by the NPPF revision and many other issues.  The authorities have been given till the 14th of Sept – so presumably funding can be announced in the budget.

This is not the way to do things.  Plans for growth before thedetailed  analysis?  What did Patrick Geddes say – survey before plan? A proper regional study would take 6 months to a year and should have been commissioned immediately.  No chance for public consultation – it looks like a fix., and will be and has been used by Nimbys to oppose housing ‘ where will the water come from’ – from a region where all England’s river originate!   Northamptonshire doesn’t even yet have a governance structure to take forward a housing deal and looks like it will lose out again.

Dear all,
The Government believes that the corridor between Cambridge and Oxford has the potential to be a globally significant economy. A combination of innovation, entrepreneurship and highly-skilled workers has established it as one of the most productive and fastest growing areas in the UK. It also includes some of the least affordable housing markets in the country.
The National Infrastructure Commission has stated that realising its full potential as a world class economic hub would require delivery of up to 1 million new homes here by 2050. The Government welcomes this ambition. Last year, we set out a significant programme of investment in infrastructure, housing and business to support it.
Realising the ambition of 1 million homes here will require additional action from central and local partners. This action includes Government’s planning reforms, our national programmes such as the Housing Infrastructure Fund, the forthcoming national prospectus inviting proposals for locally-led new garden communities, and further work to understand the potential for housing growth across the corridor.
Government will also soon begin detailed analysis to explore potential locations for new settlements across the corridor, their alignment with transport infrastructure, and any environmental considerations.
Therefore, we now invite local authorities from across the corridor to bring forward ambitious proposals for transformational housing growth, including new settlements. Proposals should be led by the relevant local authority, working closely with partners including Local Enterprise Partnerships, universities and colleges, landowners, businesses, and others. Where appropriate, these should build on any housing deal discussions that are already underway.
They should focus on:
 Economic rationale: how new settlements will support job creation and economic
growth; any propositions involving existing or new anchor institutions or industries.
 Transport and other infrastructure: connections to existing and planned transport networks; potential for new transport schemes; requirements for other forms of infrastructure to support housing growth (healthcare, utilities, education, etc); key challenges (inc. funding and planning).
 Geography and land: understanding potential locations; availability of land including ownership and physical and legal constraints; factoring environmental considerations
into any proposals.
 Delivery: proposed scale and pace of delivery; deliverability and commercial viability.
 Partnerships: how local authorities will work together and with other key partners; the role of central government.
 Funding: how proposals could be funded, including the role of private finance.
Along with colleagues across government and corridor champion Iain Stewart MP, I want to see swift action. I know this feeling is shared across the corridor. Therefore, I would welcome your proposals by Friday 14 September. Following this, I would be keen to discuss the most ambitious proposals. My officials will be in touch to discuss this further and stand ready to support you throughout this process.
I am sending this letter to the leaders of all local authorities in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes Oford corridor, and copying it to partners including Local Enterprise Partnerships, England’s Economic Heartland, universities and colleges across the corridor.

The letter has not been published widely, only S Oxon I think which has its own agenda against the expressway has put it on the website.  Without a process of proper study and transparent consultation the opposition it builds up could lead to a populist opportunists – like Boris – in the future scrapping it.  Lets not forget the need here isnt 1 million, that’s a figure based on technical errors and 20 years old census data and boundaries, it doesn’t account for the massive expansion in the Travel to Work areas and the massive overspill needs from London.  My work suggests the need is 1.5-1.8 million by 2050 based on the Heart of England LEP boundary (excluding Swindon).

If authorities need to put togther a bid quickly here is a presentation given to a NIC seminar last November with plans for three large Garden Cities (MK scale) and many other proposals, including how 1.5 million+ homes can be built ALL accessible within walking distance of stations and BRT stops.  The big map  is here.  Numbers here. Its based on six months work. There is also Tom Holbrook’s year long work  .  It doesn’t have to be panic stations, enough work has been done to out together serious and ambitious proposals by Sept – I dont know why the deadline shouldn’t coincide with the h Oct Garden Communities submission though – still in time for the budget.