Background Context

South Oxford Science Village - Background Context

MOC for Oxfordshire Local Authorities (excluding South Oxfordshire)

Background Context

As stated in the Oxfordshire Innovation Engine Report (2013), Oxfordshire and Oxford support one of the most important concentrations of high value businesses in Europe. However, the full potential of this sub-regional economic cluster is not being realised and its contribution to the expansion of the UK economy is being compromised. One of the principal contributing factors associated with constrained economic growth in Oxfordshire is the lack of housing.

The Government’s recent announcement of substantial new investment in frontier science and technology puts Oxfordshire in a strong position to strengthen its leading position in the scientific sectors and to contribute to greater productivity in the UK economy. There are important decisions to be made about how best to deliver the expected growth in jobs and housing to secure sustainable development.

The 2014 Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) (April 2014) established the need for 100,000 new homes across Oxfordshire, with 28,000 required to meet the housing needs of Oxford City and some 15,500 for South Oxfordshire. Evidence on the physical capacity of Oxford City to accommodate housing growth has been provided by Oxford City Council’s 2014 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and more recently in the 2016 Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). Both confirm that Oxford is unable to physically accommodate the required number of homes.

In the wake of the SHMA the Oxfordshire Districts and County Council have been working together to agree how best to meet Oxford’s housing needs. This work has been led by the Oxfordshire Growth Board. In 2016 a Memorandum of Co-operation (MOC) between all Oxfordshire authorities (with the exception of South Oxfordshire Council) agreed the apportionment of Oxford’s unmet housing need across the adjacent districts (see graphic above).

The site is within the administrative area of South Oxfordshire District Council and is in the Oxfordshire Green Belt. For South Oxfordshire the MOC establishes that the housing apportionment for South Oxfordshire District Council is 4,950 homes. The apportionment of housing for South Oxfordshire District was informed by a range of detailed evidence base studies including a ‘Detailed Assessment of the Areas of Search’. This work has identified that development at the site at Grenoble Road would not have a negative affect on the openness or purposes of the Green Belt and is as being capable of delivering 2,200 new homes in the period to 2031.

We are developing our proposals and seeking the views of the community to enable us to demonstrate how this site can address the chronic shortage of homes in Oxfordshire, particularly those which are genuinely affordable.