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Column 14th November 2018

Dear Mr Cox, can you explain lack of affordable homes?

Why are there no new affordable or one bed properties in our area?

The Wantage and Grove Campaign Group have just written to the Leader of the District Council (Roger Cox) with a question.

I quote:
“Dear Sir
You will be aware that recent central government figures show an alarming increase in the shortage of Primary and Secondary school teachers. This was further highlighted in a program on BBC television when it was stated that Oxfordshire had one of the greatest increase in shortage of teachers in the country, and this was due, in the main, to the very high cost of housing in the County. More or less at the same time The Herald reported that the shortage of nurses in the County's hospital was due to the unaffordable house pricing.

Based on the SHMA [Strategic Housing Market Assessment] for the Vale, the housing mix per 1000 new build houses as follows:-
    59 x 1 bedroom
   217 x 2 bedroom
   426 x 3 bedroom
   298 x 4 or more bedroom homes.

If one looks at the current new builds in our area then we see that of the 350 houses approved, the SHMA requires that there should be 94.5 one and two bed properties, whereas The Vale has approved plans that give us only 49 two bed properties, and no one bed units at all.

The most recent figures for affordable ‘first time’ homes issued by central government state that these should need a deposit of £20,000 and total cost of 5.6 times the average salaries for any area. With the current average salary in Oxfordshire being over £32,000 we should have ‘first time buyer' one and two bed homes at under £200,000. The cheapest 2 bed units currently being built would require first time buyers to have an income in excess of £40,000 to meet government target of 5.6 times annual salary.

Please explain why the housing mix you approve is not in line with your, and the SHMA, stated mix, and when and where you have approved any houses that meet central government’s required first time buyer homes.”

Perhaps the Councillors don’t believe that we need any new one bed homes or new affordable two bed homes.

Perhaps they would like to explain their reasons to those people who would like to buy one or those who are suffering from the shortages of teachers and nurses.

 


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