West Oxfordshire's Five-Year Housing Land Supply: an update

10 Nov 2023

This week's announcement marked a big step forward in our battle to take back control of new housing from developers.

New housing and how and where to build it has been a key issue since I stood for election to West Oxfordshire District Council last year
New housing and how and where to build it has been a key issue since I stood for election to West Oxfordshire District Council last year

West Oxfordshire passed its five year anniversary of its Local Plan in late September 2023. This anniversary is critical as it allows the district council to move over to the “standard method” of calculating housebuilding requirements rather than the method used in the Local Plan. This in turn allows the district council to cut the number of housing units it has to deliver in the next five years by 47%.

  • previous 5YHLS target: 5,816
  • new 5YHLS target: 3,060
  • reduction from prior target: -2,756 (-47%)

This cut has two key benefits. First, it puts the district council back inside its five-year housing land supply requirement. This makes the district far safer from speculative developments being brought forward in inappropriate places. Secondly, it rescues West Oxfordshire from the ludicrously large housing targets which the Conservatives signed the district up to in 2018. Putting these into perspective, in 2018 the Conservatives committed to building 22% more houses in West Oxfordshire in the ten years between 2022-2031. In the same time period, UK population will grow by just 3%.

As Liberal Democrats, we strongly support housing with the necessary infrastructure. Currently we have an A40 which is forecast to be 30 minutes slower by 2031, schools and health centres which are full to bursting and sewage treatment works which are woefully under capacity. These issues need to be urgently sorted out before we endlessly add thousands more houses into our district. We believe a rail line is the right long term solution for West Oxfordshire, providing a fast, reliable, green transport solution and allowing housing to be built at the required scale around train stations.

For more detailed information on the five-year land supply, the document is available here.