The Oxford Land Availability and Unmet Need Assessment (220-page / 26.7 MB PDF) identified "suitable, available and achievable" sites for the potential provision of up to 6,422 new homes by 2031. Adding the potential housing figure to the number of homes already delivered since 2011, existing commitments and predicted windfall sites, the Council calculated that a total of 10,212 homes could be delivered in the area between 2011 and 2031.
This figure, which the Council said should be considered "the maximum that could be achieved", represented only between 32% and 43% of the 24,000 to 32,000 homes estimated to be required in Oxford according to the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment published earlier this year.
Identified in the study as being suitable for development were several sites either partially or fully within the green belt. Partially within the green belt were an urban extension at the 45 hectare 'Northern Gateway Strategic Site', identified for development in the Council's core strategy and expected to deliver 500 homes; and up to 190 homes at the Wolvercote paper mill, for which an outline planning application was pending consideration, the assessment said.
A four hectare site at St Frideswide Farm and a 3.6 hectare site to the east of Redbridge park and ride were also included in the potential housing figures, for the delivery of a combined 330 homes. Development of both sites would be dependent on the results of a strategic review of the Oxford Green Belt, the assessment said.
Council leader councillor Bob Price said in a statement: "In light of this enormous need, the Council were determined to ensure the most thorough assessment yet of the availability of housing land in Oxford. In line with national guidance, the study equally recognises the need to protect the integrity of our natural and historic assets, as well as safeguarding sports and community infrastructure so important to the well-being of local communities."
“The conclusions to the study show a shortfall of up to 21,800 homes. Even a more conservative estimate of Oxford’s need shows a shortfall of 17,800 homes compared with what can be realistically and sustainably achieved. This leaves us with no doubt that a strategic review of the Oxford Green Belt, to allow us to plan for a sustainable urban extension, is urgently needed."
The Council noted that the assessment would "form the basis for agreeing with its neighbouring districts the level of Oxford’s unmet housing needs that will need to be accommodated outside of the city’s boundaries".