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Column 1st December 2021

How to decide how many homes we need

Over the recent weeks I’ve started answering questions relating to housing and infrastructure in this area but this week I want to provide an update on the process of deciding the housing needs figures (referred to in the answer to the question posed last week).

Need Not Greed Oxfordshire, Oxford Civic Society and several other local bodies recently asked the Future Oxfordshire Partnership if the decision to undertake an independent review of the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment (OGNA) could be on the agenda of their next meeting on November 30th.

The OGNA will be used to justify the number of new homes included in future Local Plans for all District Councils across Oxfordshire.

The response from Councillor Michele Mead (the Chairman of the Partnership) pointed out that the Future Oxfordshire Partnership does not have decision making powers on the content of the Oxfordshire Plan, formal decision making lies with the City and District Councils.

She then explained that Officers are currently analysing the responses to the recent consultation. A report on the consultation feedback is then likely to be presented to the City and District Councils in the New Year.

She suggested that this will allow a decision to be made on the request for an independent review at that time.

This means that the City and District Councils will each have to discuss the request for a review and we need to ensure that the Vale District Council does this.

When the approval was given to the last housing need figures, the Liberal Democrats were in opposition and during the development of the local plan they were vocal in their opposition to the figures so we would hope that they would support an independent review this time.

It will be interesting to see.

On a totally separate topic, I would like to point out that as Campaign Manager of the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (which often feels like a full-time job) and as writer of this column, I receive no fees, payments or allowances.

Our County Councillors are entitled to get a basic allowance of £12,000 plus expenses and top-ups depending on responsibilities (the Leader of the Council receives an additional £36,000 for example).

Our District Councillors are entitled to £5,186 plus expenses with special responsibility allowances up to £20,741 for the Leader of the Council.

Town and Parish Councillors generally don’t get anything although Wantage Mayor is entitled to an allowance.

The basic MP salary is £81,932 plus expenses.

 


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