Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

Accommodation for Travelling Communities

5.11 There is a national shortage of sites for Gypsies, Travellers and travelling showpeople. Satisfactory provision to meet their particular housing requirements will need to be made, otherwise unauthorised sites will occur that can create problems for these families (many of whom are already socially-excluded and have difficulty accessing employment, health care, education and other services), as well as the local settled community.

5.12 Local studies assessing the accommodation needs of travelling communities show that there is a clear need for additional permanent plots and pitches throughout Oxfordshire, including West Oxfordshire. New provision will come forward through Policy CS12 and through specific site identification, if required.

Policy CS12 – Travelling Communities

New pitches/plots/sites for Gypsies, Travellers and travelling showpeople will be provided in accordance with identified needs by:

  • safeguarding existing sites
  • extending existing sites where appropriate
  • bringing forward new sites if required, either through planning permission or through the development plan process.

New sites should meet the following criteria:

  • be in or near existing settlements with access to local services and facilities, especially schools, shops and healthcare;
  • be well located to the highway and public transport network, as well as having safe and convenient vehicular, cycle and pedestrian access;
  • not to have adverse impact on environmental assets, particularly the character and appearance of the surrounding area;
  • not be located in areas at flood risk, ie in Flood Zones 2 and 3
  • be designed in accordance with Government’s Good Practice guidance.
Key Evidence:

West Oxfordshire Local Plan (adopted 2006)

  • Existing site threshold of 2 dwellings (net) other than in four largest settlements where the site threshold is 15 dwellings.

Oxfordshire Housing Market Assessment 2007 www.westoxon.gov.uk/housingneeds  

  • Oxfordshire is a relatively cohesive housing market area. The vast majority of house moves are made within the County boundary with Oxford acting as an employment and retail focus. Overall numbers of inward migration are relatively low.
  • The growth of smaller households and an ageing population are the defining demographic drivers.
  • The housing market and local economy is generally robust. Detached properties and home ownership is dominant especially in rural areas where house prices can be very high in some parishes and where alternatives to home ownership are extremely limited.
  • Overall demand for market housing is almost in balance with overall supply although there is a shortfall of housing for home ownership. Turnover of existing stock is declining with very low turnover in some rural areas.
  • Most housing on the market is unaffordable to households with a single income.
  • In West Oxfordshire there are 10 people on the waiting list for every affordable property that becomes available to let. Demand for affordable homes is forecast to grow at a substantial rate.

West Oxfordshire Housing Needs Study 2008

  • There is a shortfall of smaller one and two bedroom properties in the market sector and both small and family units in the social sector. A level of about 60% of future delivery is suggested for smaller units.
  • Total annual affordable housing need was assessed as 567 units in West Oxfordshire, after allowing for current rental re-let and shared ownership re-sale supply.
  • A broad balance of 70% for social rent and 30% as intermediate market housing should be considered.

A Framework for an Oxfordshire Extra Care Housing Strategy 2008

  • Extra Care Housing is a type of housing, care and support that falls somewhere between traditional sheltered housing and residential care.
  • A significant amount of existing residential care accommodation should be replaced with Extra Care Housing.
  • There is an overall need for 7,832 units in Oxfordshire by 2025 with a continuous development requirement of approx 129 social rented units per annum from 2009 onwards.

Affordable Housing Viability Study 2009

  • Three broad sub-markets identified with most of the District in the mid-range but with very high value covering the Burford area and a small area in the north of the District, and lower value covering Carterton and part of Witney.
  • It is not the size of the site per se that causes difficulties with viability but the nature of the existing or alternative use.
  • There is a strong argument for seeking affordable housing contributions from sites of less than 15 dwellings across the district given the high level of need for affordable housing. Small sites make an important contribution to housing land supply.
  • Varying targets from 35% to 50% would be the most practical and realistic approach. A single target is inappropriate.

Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs assessment (GTAA) for the Thames Valley Region 2006

  • GTAAs were undertaken, in accordance with the Housing Act 2004, to provide an evidence base for the level of accommodation needs and a robust and transparent basis for translating this need into pitch provision.
  • The GTAA fed into a Partial Review of the South East Plan.
  • The assessment revealed a need for a significant increase in the number of pitches on permanent authorised sites within the Thames Valley. Although less reliable at a local level, the study put forward an indicative need for 12 additional permanent pitches for West Oxfordshire 2006-2011.

Needs Assessment for Travelling Showpeople (2008)

  • This study was undertaken to assess the accommodation needs of travelling showpeople in Oxfordshire and to feed this information into the Partial Review of the South East Plan.
  • A need for a significant increase in the number of plots over the next ten years on permanent authorised sites was identified. The detailed calculation of need for West Oxfordshire should be treated with caution but was identified as being in the region of 13 additional plots between 2008 and 2018.

Past and present housing delivery

  • During the nine years from 1 April 2001 63% of all new homes built on unallocated sites were on sites of less than 10 dwellings. At 1 April 2010 77% of dwellings with permission (562 homes) were on unallocated sites of less than 10 dwellings.
  • New affordable housing built in each of the four years from 1 April 2006 was 113, 186, 94 and 22 respectively. Of this supply 27 new homes were provided on rural exception sites. Additional affordable homes were provided through purchase of existing housing.
  • At 1 April 2010 there were outstanding permissions for 100 affordable dwellings in total on six rural exception sites (two of these sites were under construction). In addition there were permissions for some 200 affordable homes on a variety of sites, of which about 85% were on S106 sites.
  • There are nearly 100 authorised pitches for Gypsies, Travellers and travelling showpeople, of which 19 pitches/plots were permitted in the four years 2006-2010.


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