Forum date & Venue
Thursday 31st January 2019
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1UL
The housing forum at Blenheim was the most vociferous and lively so far, with a vast range of opinions being expressed and a multitude of creative ideas proposed.
Although it is unquestionable that there is a housing crisis in Oxfordshire, particularly in affordable housing, it was also accepted that our region does not do enough to highlight the advantages and combat misconceptions about the depth of the crisis. Several attendees noted that many of their workforce or the people they had tried to recruit assumed accommodation and housing in Oxfordshire is far more expensive than it really is. Again this highlighted a need for better and co-ordinated communication.
Blenheim was the perfect venue for this forum as it has an ambitious and impressive housebuilding strategy already in place.
The forum listened to a very broad range of opinions but there was consensus that housebuilding is not just about putting bricks and mortar on top of each other but building viable and vibrant communities around those buildings. The forum heard from the growth board and it was clear that many of its initiatives are already in place and paving the way. However, there was concern that the long awaited housing policy documents from local government had still not materialised.
The forum watched a shortened version of an OV documentary by Rob Scotcher of B4 on the housing crisis in Oxfordshire. Since the forum and at the time of writing the full documentary has been accessed and watched more than two thousand times. OV will be making a second documentary to update on progress of the projects it has covered. This mixture of forum, documentary, survey and feedback will be a constant theme at Oxfordshire Voice. The proof of the pudding will be in all of the partners, businesses, local authorities, and other organisations all collaborating and getting results.
Simon Howson-Green, Oxfordshire Voice