Comment: Development forecasts must be constructed on firm ground

Herald Series: Development forecasts must be constructed on firm ground Development forecasts must be constructed on firm ground

When deciding on the future of development in Oxfordshire, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment figures, which suggest that the county needs 100,000 new homes in the next 15 years, have provoked much debate.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England’s report into the assessment is certainly laden with detailed arguments against the figure, which it claims is more than twice what it should be.

Rightly or wrongly, it is vital that housing chiefs get their maths right when assessing the county’s future needs.

Housing needs must be met, but they must be based on accurate and considered forecasts.

Families must not be forced out of the area because they cannot afford to find a home in the place they grew up.

As we reported in Monday’s Oxford Mail, housing is expensive enough in Oxfordshire without prices being further inflated by a lack of homes on the market.

At the same time, new development can lead to infrastructure problems, as anyone trying to get around Oxford and other parts of the county in the rush-hour can attest.

Schools and roads must be built alongside new housing, so we are not left playing catch-up, otherwise we will be storing up problems for years to come.

Whatever the case, the more accurate information that is available to inform decision-makers, the better.

The figures our future is built on must stand up.

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