Council commits to the right homes for the right people
West Oxfordshire District Council is taking proactive steps to meet the growing demand for more tailored and affordable housing in the district, by strengthening its relationships with partners and recruiting specialist expertise with Cotswold District Council, to boost resources and increase the supply of social housing across the district.
Cllr Geoff Saul, Executive Member for Housing and Social Welfare, said, “Access to a comfortable and practical place to live is not a luxury, but rather a fundamental right. As a Council, we recognise that more needs to be done to combat the current housing crisis, and will ensure no stone is left unturned as we look for ways we can do this.
“The supply of affordable housing across the district has been steadily declining over the years, which has forced some residents into accommodation totally unsuited to their needs. This, coupled with the fact that in 2021, house prices in West Oxfordshire stood at a staggering 11.4 times the average earnings, has highlighted the severity of the housing crisis we are faced with.
“Our housing partnerships are more crucial than ever, especially as we work to offer a wider range of affordable housing options for our communities. However, we know the national planning system simply isn't doing enough to match the scale of our ambitions, which is why we're teaming up with Cotswold District Council and other organisations to explore what we could possibly do, including building homes ourselves.”
Through its housing register, the Council found that over 2,000 households in the district are in need of affordable housing, and to address the issue, committed itself to delivering 274 affordable homes each year up until 2031. However, in recognition that every resident has their own unique needs, the Council is going to look for various ways they can offer affordable housing that suits the individual needs of everyone. This will include exploring the possibility of developing their own affordable homes on council-owned land, offering more rental and shared ownership options, and ensuring a broader range of home sizes for families.
To support its ambitions to boost the district’s supply of affordable housing, the Council will build upon its relationships with partners such as Oxfordshire County Council, Cottsway, Oxplace, and Homes England, as well as seeking new relationships with other organisations. This collaborative approach will be an opportunity to combine resources and expertise, so that different methods of creating more affordable housing can be explored.
Furthermore, in partnership with Cotswold District Council, a specialist expert will be recruited to grow these partnerships, and provide the knowledge and experience needed to successfully lead a team in investigating the possibilities for how both councils can deliver more affordable homes.