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Oxford advances plans to deliver major urban extension

Plans to deliver a 3,000 home urban extension to South Oxford have progressed, with the City Council’s cabinet expected to confirm how the Council intends to develop plans for the area this week.

The proposed development, known as South Oxfordshire Science Village (SOSV), will also extend the Oxford Science Park, alongside developing new schools, open spaces, community facilities and sustainable transport improvements.

The site is largely within the South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) boundaries and was released from the Green Belt during the adoption of the latest Local Plan for ‘exceptional reasons’ to address the urgent need for affordable housing.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2020 the median house price in Oxford was 11.72 times the median gross household earnings, compared to a national median rate of 7.84 times higher.

There are also currently more than 2,850 households on the Council’s housing waiting list.

cars parked on sidewalk near buildings during daytime

Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery, said: ‘It’s been a longstanding ambition of the city council to develop our land at Grenoble Road, to provide some of the homes needed to meet demand for affordable housing in Oxford. The allocation of the land in the South Oxfordshire Local Plan and the council’s partnership with Magdalen College and Thames Water – the other landowners in the area – allows that ambition to be realised.

‘The allocation of this site for just under 3,000 homes includes a requirement that half will be affordable tenures – including council homes, sub-market affordable rent and shared ownership homes. There’s a lot to do before a planning application is submitted, and we’ll be working hard with Thames Water and Magdalen College to put a development agreement in place and bring in a partner to help share the risks of the scheme and get the building of these new homes under way.

‘We’re already working closely with our friends at South Oxfordshire District Council, who are the planning authority, and look forward to realising a shared vision with them for this important new development on the edge of Oxford.’

In related news, up to £50m will be given to councils and social landlords in Scotland to build housing infrastructure which will help deliver new homes across the country.

Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA

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