There's just under a week to make your views known to planners about what you'd like to see in the Local Plan. It's your chance to influence how the city you live in develops, and to make a difference with the amount of affordable homes that get built.
We need as many of you as possible to fill in the questionnaire with your views on what you want to see in the Local Plan. Click on the link here to fill it in (you'll need to register first).
We've got some detailed instructions below and in the meantime please encourage any friends, family and colleagues who are passionate about seeing community-led housing in Oxford to get involved.
We are on a tight deadline - we have until Friday, August 25 to make a difference so please give ten minutes of your time today to fill in this form if you can (and share this link generously!).
We're afraid the Local Plan 'Preferred Options' questionnaire is a rather complex process but we need to invest some time if we want to help the planners get it right for us to be able to deliver more community-led homes.
We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in, so read on for how to get involved:
The greatest impact will come from specifically responding to the preferred options in the Local Plan at the link below.
You will need to register. Click on the link here to fill in the online questionnaire.
Or to access the main Oxford City Council page, click here and scroll down to the small green box button and click on ‘Respond by filling in the online questionnaire’.
If you prefer to write to the planners with your views either in a letter or email, this is also an option (although bear in mind we want to win them over, not bury them under a mound of correspondence!).
Many people have responded already and some such as the Oxford Civic Society at great length and we are delighted by that.
But if, like me, you are bamboozled by the sheer length and complexity of it, we've created some key messages you might want to cut and paste into the online document.
1. We need a specific policy that promotes, supports and privileges Community Led Housing (CLH).
CLH meets not only housing objectives but also EVERY other key city objective: it’s innovative, it builds diversity and sustainability, it builds community and creates wellbeing. No other form of housing can offer this. There is no specific place to say this so be creative in how you get the point over. We (Homes for Oxford/OCLT/Cohousing/Kindling/OFHN etc) are working on a policy that we plan to submit so help us out by asking for that. If you need more details then email Fran at email@example.com.
2. There are particular housing options in the Preferred Options that you can respond to and here are the ones we think are most important for CLH:
Option 10 Determining the priority types of Affordable Housing:
10A: We support this. However, an 80/20 split on all sites does not provide enough intermediate housing for people who are not in the social-rent category, but who cannot afford to pay full market rents, particularly care assistants and others on low incomes who are essential for our society to function.
10B: We support this. This is an important modification to 10A and we would like to explicitly include community-led developments offering affordable housing in perpetuity.
We suggest including: “Locally approved non-registered providers such as Community Land Trusts (CLT) and other community-led housing organisations that meet agreed criteria”.
Option 12 Meeting intermediate housing or employment sector specific needs based on local affordability approaches:
12A: We’d like CLH organisations to be included here:
We suggest some additional words to enable CLH sector organisations to make use of this policy, such as: “On specified sites, allow schemes that are up to 100% intermediate housing, with reduced or no element of social rent housing required. This could apply to University and Hospital Trust sites to support key staff; school campus sites, other staff accommodation schemes or sites developed by a not-for-profit community-led housing organization such as a land trust or cohousing group.”
And we want the Council to do everything in its power to keep all affordable housing permanently affordable such as through a Community Land Trust.
Option 12B: We support this but would add:
Community Land Trusts and other CLH schemes offer a mechanism to lock in affordability in perpetuity and can deliver affordable housing particularly intermediate (between social rent and market value).
We consider there is merit in widening the choices for people unable to buy or rent a home they need. However the Council is prioritising rental properties which closes the door on those aspiring to own their own home who can’t quite achieve it. The Council shouldn’t rule out shared ownership held by an RSL or locally approved community-led housing organization especially where there is no right to staircase to the full amount. Similarly starter homes could be pegged at a maximum of 80% of open market value in perpetuity (or preferably a lower % if a local definition of affordability is agreed) with subsequent sales to be agreed by the council, RSL or community-led housing organization. This could also include a requirement for sale to a person with a local connection to Oxford.
Option 12C: We support this:
An Oxford Living Rent offers a good starting point for developing a locally appropriate affordability policy.
Don't forget the deadline to give your views is Friday, 24 August so time is of the essence!
If you would like to talk to us more about the Local Plan or have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.