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  Its already out of date given MHLGs standard OAn method- which produces wierd results in Cambridge and Oxford due to the dodgy changes in assumptions on migration and attributable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.

3 thoughts on “South Oxfordshire Respond to Kit Malthouse on Cam_MK_Ox Corridor

  1. It’s interesting to read towards the end of the South Oxon letter that the Council is asking for reassurance from the Government that it will not have to plan for any new settlements. While I tend to agree that the decision on the route of the road ought to come first (although I agree the general route will be known by the authorities concerned), South Oxon’s effective declaration of opposition to new towns undermines the logic of this argument.

  2. I enjoyed the bit that asked what, if any, geographical distribution of 1m homes was expected. I had an image of 1m homes just placed one on top of the other towering into the sky.

  3. I think you’d be surprised at how little information the local authorities have on the likely route. This letter is a result of the nervousness created by that ignorance. Whilst I think the letter is more about smoking out the pockets of political support across the corridor (rather than the likely more widespread political opposition), the opportunity for strong local leadership is now. That leadership should mean a grown-up conversation with HMG, with pragmatism on housing numbers, timescales, locations and the cash to front-fund all of the necessary infrastructure – including the backlog. To an extent, funding can be driven by a far more aggressive release of public land for development. Those same pragmatic conversations then need to happen with neighbourhood plan groups to help make this happen faster.

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