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Council Bulldozes Democracy... nothing new then...

Posted on February 20, 2016 at 2:05 PM

Always good to have a picture of the Glorious Leader - from the Oxford Mail:

This is a 'stock' photo of Cllr Price that gets rolled out every time they revisit the 'must concrete over between here and Abingdon' theme. This time the City Council is spending £400,000 of our money on preparing its case to oppose South Oxfordshire District Council, who, surprisingly enough, don't have building houses on the Green Belt in their plan. Of course, if anyone dare challenge the City Council's plan and want to do something different, then they spare no expense (with our money, and zero governance, openness or transparency) in opposing it. Who would have thought our City Council is controlled by Labour - not working in Oxford for the people.

The City Council use the SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) to justify all the houses it says need to be built. There is ZERO evidence that building more houses in Oxford will help the housing crisis. Without rent controls, or a mandate on who will be able to own any new houses, the 'market' will win; Oxford is highly desirable and most new homes will be snapped up by people from outside the area. Housing prices are so high in Oxford that very few people, and certainly not the people who need them at the lower end of the income scale currently existing in Oxford or being forced to commute ever longer distances, are able to buy.

The SHMA was rigged by the planning department at the City Council, then headed by Michael Crofton-Briggs (who we need to remember assaulted a disabled Campaign member, but never held to account by the Council who ignored their own HR policies). The SHMA originally published by Central Government showed a drop in demand for housing in Oxford City by 2020. This makes sense, since house prices are going up, and will become out of the reach of the vast majority of people. But that didn't fit the City Council view of the world; so they argued that they, and only they, should use a different set of figures and ended up with a demand for 32,000 homes. Even their own forecast shows that there's only space for 10,000 more homes in Oxford City (although where they think they will come from heaven only knows). So the answer? Make the City bigger by building on the Green Belt - without tackling the underlying cause of the problem! Brilliant.

And where's all the infrastructure going to come from, let alone the jobs that all these monied people who are the only ones going to buy the houses? The City is focused on houses, not the consequences; and on top of that profits as well. On the new estate at Barton, the Council has ignored the very valid concerns of the people of Northway, whose Labour (!) councillors have an empathy bypass and simply parrot the party line rather than standing up for their constituents. And the profit motive there is ever more apparent. The City Council switched the ownership of the Barton land into the joint venture it has formed with the biggest landowner in the country - a plot for 900 houses, for only £900,000! They will make money through the value of the houses that are sold - so are happy that the house prices go up even more. And social housing? Well,they caved in only too readily from the 50% mandate - now only 40% of the new houses will be social, and we can see that figure coming down even more as the developers complain they can't make enough money.

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