Below is the text of a letter from Green Party Member Katy Jennison that was published in the Witney Gazette October 2020.  Thank you Katy for permission to publish your letter here.  

" The phrase 'Oxford's unmet housing need' is slithering unchallenged through news stories like a weasel, but what is it really?

 

What Oxford actually needs is housing for its key workers, within walking or cycling distance of their workplaces – housing for workers who can't now afford to live in the city, and have to commute in from less expensive places.  What Oxford needs is this sort of housing.

 

What Oxford doesn't need is housing for millionaires wanting weekend retreats, or for investors betting on rising property prices, or for landlords making a quick buck from short-term lettings.  It is because all these people – the word 'parasite' springs to mind – are driving up the prices of existing Oxford properties that the county's towns and villages and their district councils are being forced to allow developers to build on productive farmland, on allotments which have been cultivated for generations, and on cherished green spaces which turn out later to have been vital in absorbing rainwater and preventing flooding, in order to house Oxford's under-paid nurses and bus drivers and shop-workers and teachers, who then have to commute by car or bus or train instead of being able to walk or cycle to work.

 

Oxford and its county are full of clever people.  We should be able to rein in this runaway folly.

 

 

All the best

Katy "

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