Budget 2017: Oxfordshire councils given £215m to build 100,000 homes

Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: Getty
Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: Getty

The Chancellor announced £215m will be given to Oxfordshire’s councils to build 100,000 homes and infrastructure in the county by 2031 in his Budget today (Wednesday, November 22).

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has reached an outline agreement with the government in its bid for £500m to deliver road, rail and housing projects across the county.

Last week the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) published its report to Government on the Oxford-Cambridge arc.

It advised on the need for long-term investment funding for new transport infrastructure to harness the region’s economic potential, to benefit local people and boost UK plc in a post-Brexit landscape.

Mr Hammond told MPs: “Last week the National Infrastructure Commission published their report on the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.

“Today we back their vision and commit to building up to 1 million homes by 2050.

“Completing the road and rail infrastructure to support them and as a down-payment on this plan, we have agreed an ambitious Housing Deal with Oxfordshire to deliver 100,000 homes by 2031.

“Capitalising on the global reputations of our two most famous universities and Britain’s biggest new town to create a dynamic new growth corridor for the 21st Century.”

Under the terms of the deal, the government will provide £60m of funding for affordable housing, £150m of funding (£30m for five years) for infrastructure improvements that will benefit existing communities and unlock new development sites.

Government will also provide £5 million in capacity funding to help meet the costs of taking the investment programme forward.

This will include the development of a Joint Strategic Spatial Plan, providing a county-wide integrated planning framework to guide the sustainable growth.

Oxfordshire councils are already committing in excess of £340 million to infrastructure and housing investment over the period.

Separate bids to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), to support the development of the Didcot Garden Town, and West Oxfordshire and North of Oxford Garden Villages, are still being considered by Government with decisions expected in the new year.

Oxfordshire Growth Board chairman and Oxford City Council leader Cllr Bob Price said: “Today’s agreement is the basis for the next phase in Oxfordshire’s development – supporting the rapid growth of our economy and addressing the severe housing shortage we are facing.

“I want to pay tribute to the phenomenal work done across six councils and the LEP to get us to this point.

“And I now look forward to working with partners to deliver this investment in our county to benefit the people of Oxfordshire, and the wider UK economy.”

Cherwell District Council leader Cllr Barry Wood added: “To be a successful district we must attract businesses that provide jobs and homes for local people and to do that we must firstly invest in the infrastructure to support this growth.

“This deal will help improve the connectivity, roads and transport links so we can accommodate the planned growth of the area and the demand this success will bring. District growth incorporates more than housing; it’s the economy, employment and skills sector that will be enhanced by the investment this deal will bring.”