Oxfordshire councils work together to tackle Oxford housing shortage

A proposed solution for the delivery of Oxford’s unmet housing need involving an apportionment to each district is to be discussed by the Oxfordshire Growth Board on September 26th.

The results of the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) published in 2014 established the overall housing need for each district planning area. The councils in Oxfordshire generally agree that Oxford City is not able to fully accommodate its need within its boundaries. Government requires neighbouring areas to cooperate in such circumstances and an agreement was reached that assistance would be needed from other districts in Oxfordshire to meet Oxford’s unmet need. Senior officers for all of Oxfordshire’s councils set up a programme of work to address this issue.

The Oxfordshire Growth Board will meet to agree a proposed apportionment of 15,000 homes but will not make decisions on where in each district housing growth will go. Each Local Planning Authority has the responsibility of doing this in their Local Plans. The Growth Board will consider a body of jointly produced work with a view to reaching a cooperative agreement on how Oxford’s unmet housing need should be distributed across the county. This work has involved consideration of the level of unmet housing need, the sustainability of broad growth options, a study of the Green Belt, transport and infrastructure issues.

The report to be presented on Sept 26 recommends that the Growth Board:

  • approve the apportionment of the agreed working figure for the unmet housing need for Oxford

  • approve a Memorandum of Co-operation setting out the apportionment and timetable for delivery of the unmet housing need for Oxford

  • formally recommend the approved apportionment to each of the Oxfordshire Local Planning Authorities for consideration in the preparation of their Local Plans, in the interest of meeting the objectively assessed housing needs for Oxfordshire.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said:

“It is a well-known fact that housing is a major issue in Oxfordshire, with no easy answers, so it’s important that we all work together to consider the housing needs of the county in the context of economic growth.

“The Oxfordshire Growth Board enables local government and representatives from education, transport and local business to focus on resolving county-wide issues such as housing in a co-ordinated and sustainable way.

“It is welcome news that the Oxfordshire Growth Board now has a comprehensive, county-wide evidence base which is needed to consider a fair and sustainable way to share Oxford’s housing needs beyond the Oxford boundary.”

Notes to editors

Item 15 of ‘Oxfordshire Growth Board Post SHMA Strategic Work Programme’ report

The recommended apportionment is as follows:


Shortlisted ‘green’ areas of search













The Oxfordshire Growth Board is a joint committee of the six councils of Oxfordshire, set up to facilitate and enable joint working on economic development, strategic planning and growth. It does this by:

  • advising on matters of collective interest, to seek agreement on local priorities and influence relevant local, regional and national bodies

  • overseeing the delivery of projects that the councils of Oxfordshire are seeking to deliver collaboratively in the fields of economic development and strategic planning and those agreed in the City Deal and Local Growth Deals that fall to the councils, working collaboratively, to deliver and has an overall responsibility to manage these programmes of work alongside the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

The meetings are administered and hosted on a rota basis and currently Oxfordshire County Council is the hosting authority.

The Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) was commissioned jointly by all the Oxfordshire district councils supported by Oxfordshire County Council and published in 2014. It was a technical study intended to help the Oxfordshire local planning authorities understand how many homes will be needed in the period 2011 – 2031. It also considers the housing needs of specific groups such as older people, minority groups and people with disabilities and what housing growth will be needed to support the economy.