The Labour land grab

This Is Cheshire: Housing minister Emma Reynolds Housing minister Emma Reynolds

EXTRA powers to help Oxford build homes outside its city boundaries could be on the cards if Labour win in 2015, shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds has claimed.

But she refused to be drawn on whether or not her party would force other councils to give up land – like fields south of Grenoble Road at the centre of a housing row – so Oxford could expand.

The Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East said her party wanted to build 200,000 homes a year if it wins in 2015. And she said average house prices of £400,000 in the city and a lack of land made it a “perfect example” of what her party wanted to do.

She said housing shortages in cities like Oxford, where there are few areas available for development, would be dealt with by extra powers enabling urban areas to expand.

But the plans have been dismissed by critics.

Oxford remains locked in a stalemate with neighbours South Oxfordshire District Council over whether or not homes should be built south of Grenoble Road, on the edge of the city.

Tory SODC leader Ann Ducker, who remains opposed to development in the area, dismissed the suggestion that Oxford might be given more powers to expand as “undemocratic”.

But the shadow minister said: “We want to strengthen the hands of these local authorities, which want to build houses but are constrained by a shortage of land.

“In terms of the mechanics of that, I can’t give an answer at this stage.

“We are talking about powers to allow local authorities to ratchet up the fees on developers who have planning permission but aren’t building, and we want to go further than that and look in particular about problems around right to grow.”

She said Oxford was a “perfect example” of a city where the council’s housebuilding ambitions were hampered by a shortage of land, and would be among the cities to benefit from new powers.

She said: “(Oxford) has identified great housing need in the city, but there is simply not enough land for them to build the properties the city needs, and, as a result, rents are high and the average house price is £400,000.

“We have commissioned Sir Michael Lyons (a former chairman of the BBC Trust) to carry out a review of housing, and he will be looking at issues around how neighbouring councils work together.

“What we want to be able to do is empower local authorities to be able to build outwards.”

Mrs Ducker said: “I don’t think it’s very democratic. I think we already have the powers we need and a duty to co-operate, and I think every district council I know is co-operating.

“To simply say they are going to be allowed to extend their boundaries doesn’t sound like it is something which has been thought through.

“I don’t think anyone would be happy if any city had the power to move its boundaries. It would be never-ending. How far would they go?”

Labour city council deputy leader Ed Turner welcomed the news, and said action was needed to prevent Oxford’s housing crisis from getting worse.

He said: “We know there is a housing crisis in Oxford and this is strangling the city’s economy.

“We know from numerous examinations that we cannot meet the housing need within Oxford’s boundaries, and one way or another there needs to be a solution.

“We were delighted when Ed Miliband announced the right to grow for cities like Oxford and we will obviously have to look at it and respond based on the sensitivities of our situation.”

Comments (13)

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10:42am Tue 19 Nov 13

train passenger says...

It is entirely obvious that Oxford needs space to expand but those who have been voted in by villagers aren't willing to give up even 0.01% of their land simply because they want to preserve (or further increase) their own property prices. It doesn't get a lot more selfish than that I think. Please apply some more free market principles to the housing market if you really believe in them.
It is entirely obvious that Oxford needs space to expand but those who have been voted in by villagers aren't willing to give up even 0.01% of their land simply because they want to preserve (or further increase) their own property prices. It doesn't get a lot more selfish than that I think. Please apply some more free market principles to the housing market if you really believe in them. train passenger
  • Score: -50

10:57am Tue 19 Nov 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Now that the E-W rail line is opening, perhaps some small new towns should be developed along the course of the railway?

Winslow, for example, could double in size and a substantial development centred around a railway station could be built at Steeple/Middle Claydon
Now that the E-W rail line is opening, perhaps some small new towns should be developed along the course of the railway? Winslow, for example, could double in size and a substantial development centred around a railway station could be built at Steeple/Middle Claydon Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -63

11:43am Tue 19 Nov 13

mytaxes says...

Complete twaddle although no doubt some will be fooled into believing it.
Complete twaddle although no doubt some will be fooled into believing it. mytaxes
  • Score: -88

11:43am Tue 19 Nov 13

mytaxes says...

Complete twaddle although no doubt some will be fooled into believing it.
Complete twaddle although no doubt some will be fooled into believing it. mytaxes
  • Score: -89

2:38pm Tue 19 Nov 13

Sophia says...

Oxford, self evidently, cannot expand forever. Therefore, we all agree there is some maximum size. The only question is how big? Should we plan for example for a city extending to the Chiltern, Bicester and Witney? Or should we say, one mile in any direction and then stop?

That is the discussion that none of the main parties are willing to have
Oxford, self evidently, cannot expand forever. Therefore, we all agree there is some maximum size. The only question is how big? Should we plan for example for a city extending to the Chiltern, Bicester and Witney? Or should we say, one mile in any direction and then stop? That is the discussion that none of the main parties are willing to have Sophia
  • Score: -12

4:32pm Tue 19 Nov 13

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

Back in the 1970s there was a recession and house builders could not sell their homes. Oxford City Council bought several hundred homes from developers first in the outskirts of Abingdon and then at Grovelands at Kidlington. The problem the council had for a while was that many of the thousands of people on the waiting list would not take tenancies of these houses because they said they were too far away from Oxford. They were eventually let but to people lower down on the priority list who knew that it would take many years before they moved up the waiting list for a home in Oxford.
Back in the 1970s there was a recession and house builders could not sell their homes. Oxford City Council bought several hundred homes from developers first in the outskirts of Abingdon and then at Grovelands at Kidlington. The problem the council had for a while was that many of the thousands of people on the waiting list would not take tenancies of these houses because they said they were too far away from Oxford. They were eventually let but to people lower down on the priority list who knew that it would take many years before they moved up the waiting list for a home in Oxford. West Oxon Webwatcher
  • Score: -56

5:40pm Tue 19 Nov 13

fishstew says...

labour could promise me £1,000,000 if i vote for them but i would never vote for them no matter what they "promise"

if you want new houses what about building over land that has been abandoned or derelict. other soultion is for the home office to get their fingers out and deport anyone who shouldn't be here. that would free up a few houses. none of this "arrest them, then let them go" rubbish.
labour could promise me £1,000,000 if i vote for them but i would never vote for them no matter what they "promise" if you want new houses what about building over land that has been abandoned or derelict. other soultion is for the home office to get their fingers out and deport anyone who shouldn't be here. that would free up a few houses. none of this "arrest them, then let them go" rubbish. fishstew
  • Score: -132

7:46pm Tue 19 Nov 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

fishstew wrote:
labour could promise me £1,000,000 if i vote for them but i would never vote for them no matter what they "promise"

if you want new houses what about building over land that has been abandoned or derelict. other soultion is for the home office to get their fingers out and deport anyone who shouldn't be here. that would free up a few houses. none of this "arrest them, then let them go" rubbish.
Look what happened when the university built apartments on degraded former industrial land in the city centre...

The CPRE raised tens of thousands of pounds to engage in vexations.
[quote][p][bold]fishstew[/bold] wrote: labour could promise me £1,000,000 if i vote for them but i would never vote for them no matter what they "promise" if you want new houses what about building over land that has been abandoned or derelict. other soultion is for the home office to get their fingers out and deport anyone who shouldn't be here. that would free up a few houses. none of this "arrest them, then let them go" rubbish.[/p][/quote]Look what happened when the university built apartments on degraded former industrial land in the city centre... The CPRE raised tens of thousands of pounds to engage in vexations. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -52

9:56pm Tue 19 Nov 13

Danny A says...

It's a purely arbitrary political restriction the boundary between city and county.
Other towns in Oxfordshire don't have such an issue.
One key factor around Oxford is the landowning power of the colleges. A cursory glance of Oxford from the air reveals how much green space there is within the ring road and bizarrely residential development tends to get more concentrated as you move away from the centre.
I also think people overestimate the area necessary for green belt land. I recently took a ten minute walk out of Barton and that was plenty to remove all sight of development, including where Barton Park will go. All I could see was fields in all directions.
It's a purely arbitrary political restriction the boundary between city and county. Other towns in Oxfordshire don't have such an issue. One key factor around Oxford is the landowning power of the colleges. A cursory glance of Oxford from the air reveals how much green space there is within the ring road and bizarrely residential development tends to get more concentrated as you move away from the centre. I also think people overestimate the area necessary for green belt land. I recently took a ten minute walk out of Barton and that was plenty to remove all sight of development, including where Barton Park will go. All I could see was fields in all directions. Danny A
  • Score: -56

6:50am Wed 20 Nov 13

adlibber says...

I know let's not address the issue and continue to create record numbers of homeless and when they are lying freezing at the end of your road just run over them eh What a shower of selfish people on here. The thumbs down on every post tells you how callous and cold we have become as a society. And when Osborne's property bubble collapses I expect people to be blame anyone but tories. The human race used to be a wonderful place.
I know let's not address the issue and continue to create record numbers of homeless and when they are lying freezing at the end of your road just run over them eh What a shower of selfish people on here. The thumbs down on every post tells you how callous and cold we have become as a society. And when Osborne's property bubble collapses I expect people to be blame anyone but tories. The human race used to be a wonderful place. adlibber
  • Score: -8

7:51am Wed 20 Nov 13

Lord Palmerstone says...

train passenger wrote:
It is entirely obvious that Oxford needs space to expand but those who have been voted in by villagers aren't willing to give up even 0.01% of their land simply because they want to preserve (or further increase) their own property prices. It doesn't get a lot more selfish than that I think. Please apply some more free market principles to the housing market if you really believe in them.
So you don't want to preserve the price of your house? Love negative equity? Are you an in- or out-patient at Littlemore?
"create record numbers of homeless and when they are lying freezing at the end of your road just run over them eh What a shower of selfish people on here" And you and your family have taken how many homeless/dysfunction
al people into your house?
[quote][p][bold]train passenger[/bold] wrote: It is entirely obvious that Oxford needs space to expand but those who have been voted in by villagers aren't willing to give up even 0.01% of their land simply because they want to preserve (or further increase) their own property prices. It doesn't get a lot more selfish than that I think. Please apply some more free market principles to the housing market if you really believe in them.[/p][/quote]So you don't want to preserve the price of your house? Love negative equity? Are you an in- or out-patient at Littlemore? "create record numbers of homeless and when they are lying freezing at the end of your road just run over them eh What a shower of selfish people on here" And you and your family have taken how many homeless/dysfunction al people into your house? Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: -51

11:22am Wed 20 Nov 13

adlibber says...

Actually I've housed a couple over the years albeit temporarily until they found work but don't let that spoil your relentless right wing posts on any given subject. Try giving a crap about others occasionally it just might make you more of a human being. You might even discover you enjoyed the experience too.
Actually I've housed a couple over the years albeit temporarily until they found work but don't let that spoil your relentless right wing posts on any given subject. Try giving a crap about others occasionally it just might make you more of a human being. You might even discover you enjoyed the experience too. adlibber
  • Score: -7

12:09pm Wed 20 Nov 13

Ryan Liddler Headington says...

Sophia wrote:
Oxford, self evidently, cannot expand forever. Therefore, we all agree there is some maximum size. The only question is how big? Should we plan for example for a city extending to the Chiltern, Bicester and Witney? Or should we say, one mile in any direction and then stop?

That is the discussion that none of the main parties are willing to have
Oxford needs to expand in which ever direction that development is possible, incorporating towns and villages as it goes, as happened with London. I.E. London would still be a square mile city, with a hundred little villages dotted around if todays protesters had been around a few hundred years ago. We either develop, or take the Chinese line with no mass immigration, and one child per couple. Now that would make a good "todays vote"
[quote][p][bold]Sophia[/bold] wrote: Oxford, self evidently, cannot expand forever. Therefore, we all agree there is some maximum size. The only question is how big? Should we plan for example for a city extending to the Chiltern, Bicester and Witney? Or should we say, one mile in any direction and then stop? That is the discussion that none of the main parties are willing to have[/p][/quote]Oxford needs to expand in which ever direction that development is possible, incorporating towns and villages as it goes, as happened with London. I.E. London would still be a square mile city, with a hundred little villages dotted around if todays protesters had been around a few hundred years ago. We either develop, or take the Chinese line with no mass immigration, and one child per couple. Now that would make a good "todays vote" Ryan Liddler Headington
  • Score: -268

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