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Column 4th October 2017

A new housing strategy, you say? Just let me at it...

I have recently received a survey from South and Vale District Councils asking for feedback on their new Housing Delivery Strategy.

They acknowledge that delivering new homes is a challenge and say that there are a number of factors which can impact on the building of new homes, including:

- capacity within the building industry

- availability of sufficient land

- funding to provide affordable housing and infrastructure.

The proposed Joint Housing Delivery Strategy 2018 - 2028 sets out how the councils will overcome these challenges by working with local communities, landowners, developers and infrastructure providers to ensure that new homes can be delivered as quickly as possible whilst meeting the needs of communities and businesses.

Their proposed “Housing Delivery Enabler” role will involve a number of things including increasing the level of public sector expenditure in new housing delivery, principally in infrastructure.

Actions for the first three years include: working with developers to remove delays to house building on large strategic sites; producing proposals for the council to acquire or invest in land for development; and identifying and working to resolve potential issues with infrastructure which could cause delays to house building or disrupt residents.

Actions proposed for years 4-6 include: developing comprehensive forecasting and planning of infrastructure requirements with further work to identify and resolve potential issues with infrastructure; expanding partnership working with the public and private sector; and ensuring a range of homes for those with special needs and key workers.

These are all very encouraging words, but note the emphasis on “producing proposals” and “identifying issues”.

The District Councils are part of the Oxfordshire Growth Board which admitted earlier this year that there is a £8.5 billion funding gap for the necessary infrastructure to support planned housing growth to 2040.

We already know the issues. We need health centres, transport improvements, schools and homes for key workers now not plans in 4-6 years’ time.

And where is this public sector expenditure coming from?

One of the reasons for the shortage of money in the NHS is the cost of the public/private partnerships which built the NHS infrastructure.

Yes we need infrastructure - but at what cost?

To comment go to http://survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/HousingDeliveryStrategy 


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