Agenda item

Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal: Update at the end of Quarter 1 2023/24

To consider a report to the Future Oxfordshire Partnership setting out the Quarter 1, 2023/2024 progress report for the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.


The Panel considered a report which set out an update on progress, spend and housing delivery for schemes included as part of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth deal as at the end of Quarter 1 2023/2024.


The Panel noted that as of Quarter 1, the Housing from Infrastructure, (HfI) programme was over profiled by £2.650m compared to available funding. Whilst acknowledging that a bid for additional funding had been made to Homes England’s Brownfield Infrastructure and Land Fund in respect of the Lodge Hill scheme, the Panel was concerned about the possible budget shortfall and knock on negative effect on other schemes in the programme if the bid was not successful.


Andrew Down, Future Oxfordshire Partnership Director commented that the bid was an application for all the costs of the Lodge Hill scheme. If approved in its entirety this could mean there would not be a need to draw any funds from the Housing and Growth Deal HfI budget for Lodge Hill, freeing up funds to support the delivery of the rest of the programme. The Panel was also informed that although it had to be recognised that risks to the delivery of all the schemes in the programme could not be completely ruled out, it was expected that enough would change over the remaining life of the programme to lead to a balanced position and delivery of the currently agreed programme.


Members of the Panel made the general point that it was important for what they considered to be commitments by Oxfordshire County Council to deliver specific schemes within the programme be honoured. The Panel was reminded that under the Partnership’s revised Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding, the County Council was wholly responsible for the delivery of the programme and that discussions would be held between the County and any affected district councils if any changes to the programme were required. 


Various members of the Panel also raised a number of locally specific points and concerns with regard to the delivery of individual schemes and allocation of funds listed in the current HfI programme. This included the proposed schemes at Former RAF Upper Heyford/Junction 10 M40, the Benson Relief Road, Howes Lane/Lords Lane Bicester, and Banbury Road Roundabout Bicester. The point was made that in some cases, non-delivery of a HfI project could have a significant adverse impact on the allocation of housing by the districts within their current and emerging individual Local Plans.


Members were encouraged to raise any concerns regarding specific schemes with officers within their authority so that they could contact the appropriate officers in the County Council.


After further discussion the Panel also felt that a ‘lessons learnt’ exercise should be completed at the conclusion of the programme.


RESOLVED: The Panel recommended to the Future Oxfordshire Partnership that:


1.     The Partnership reiterate the continued importance of on-going discussions and communications between Oxfordshire County Council (the responsible authority for the Housing from Infrastructure Programme) and the districts about the status of the programme and any potential amendments as agreed in the Partnership’s Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding.


2.     That the Partnership commit to undertake a full ‘lessons learnt’ review of the Homes from Infrastructure Programme on its conclusion.


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