A plan to buy a piece of land next to a plot the council already owns as space for potentially 1,000 new homes has been approved.
Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet approved buying 30.9 acres of land next to Tank Farm in Chipping Norton, where it is already responsible for a 86.5 acre site.
Council leader Ian Hudspeth and chief finance officer, Lorna Baxter, concluded negotiations in December and agreed the freehold purchase of the land.
The cost of the land was left out of an official report because it was deemed to be commercially sensitive.
About 200 homes will be included on the newly-bought 30.9 acre site.
Cllr David Bartholomew, cabinet member for finance, said: “Nationally there’s growing concern about councils’ investment in land and property, specifically when it’s outside a council’s area and when it’s acquired for speculative development.”
He added: “This is completely different. This is in our area and has benefits in terms of enhancing the value of existing land and will have the benefit of delivering much needed houses in this area.
“This one ticks all the boxes. It’s in [the council’s] area…and it’s residential. The opposite of that is outside area and speculative development.”
Despite national concerns about councils buying property solely to generate profit, the council said not buying the land – and enabling the 200 extra homes – would not ‘significantly reduce’ infrastructure costs for the other potential 800.
Without the purchase, it ‘would result in higher average infrastructure costs’ per home.