The Government’s Housing Minister joined representatives of the Oxfordshire Growth Board in Upper Heyford in Cherwell District today (22 March) at a signing ceremony for the £215 million Oxfordshire Growth Deal.
Dominic Raab MP was joined by Councillors Bob Price (Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board), James Mills (Leader, West Oxfordshire District Council), John Cotton (Leader, South Oxfordshire District Council), Susan Brown (Leader, Oxford City Council), Lynn Pratt (Lead Member for Estates and the Economy, Cherwell District Council) and Yvonne Constance OBE (Cabinet Member for Environment, Oxfordshire County Council), as well as Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Vitoria Prentis MP for North Oxfordshire at the event held in the Upper Heyford Heritage Centre at the site of the former air base, which now forms the Heyford Park housing development.
Over a quarter of the new funding, £60 million, will support affordable housing across the county to deliver more than 1,300 affordable homes – at least half of which will be for social rent – helping first time buyers and local people looking to get a foot on the housing ladder.
As well as delivering the homes Oxfordshire greatly needs, the funding will provide £150 million for much needed transport infrastructure, such as bridges, roundabouts and roads, across the region,
Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Dominic Raab MP, said: “Our priority is to work with councils to build the right homes in the right places that work for everyone.
“I am delighted to be here in Oxfordshire today to see firsthand how our new funding will help deliver 100,000 homes for the county, not only helping address Oxfordshire’s housing challenges bur also providing the kind of transport infrastructure such as roads, bridges and roundabouts, which new homes need.
“We’re clear the housing market must work for all, which is why we have dedicated over a quarter of the £215 million funding directly to affordable housing so working families can get the support they need.”
Councillor Bob Price, Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “Today’s meeting with the Minister for Housing at Upper Heyford signals the start of a period of major investment in housing and new communities across the county.
“The cost and availability of housing has been one of the two most serious constraints on the economic development of Oxfordshire, and the results of the close collaboration between our six councils and the government since last summer will finally give us the resources to tackle the problem.
“We very much welcome the Minister’s commitment to support our aspirations for sustainable growth and will continue to work with him and his officials to deliver the much needed new housing.”
The deal also includes £5 million of funding to boost capacity within Oxfordshire’s six local authorities, including additional resources to develop a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan, that will set the strategic direction for planning across the county to 2050.
The Growth Board will continue to work closely with Government to implement the Deal.
The Oxfordshire Growth Board comprises the county’s six councils – Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, together with representatives of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), which includes the two universities.