Last week Oxford City Council took the decision to subsidise private developers to the tune of more than £100,000.
The money will pay for the demolition of Stephenfield House, Council housing in Rose Hill which is to be sold for a mix of private and affordable homes. The decision, taken at Full Council this week, was supported by the vast majority of Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, despite the opposition of the Greens and the area’s local councillors.
The Greens argued that the site should be retained as 100% social housing and that any cost of development - including the demolition -should be born by the private purchaser.
After persistent questionning the housing portfolio holder - and local Rose Hill Councillor Ed Turner - admitted that the development would not wholly consist of affordable units. Cllr Turner (who was one of the few Labour Councillors who voted against the demolition despite the report recommending it carrying his name!) would not be drawn on the details of the development.
Councillor Matt Sellwood, Deputy Leader of the Green Group, commented: “This is an absolute disgrace. In a period of acute housing need in Oxford, and despite an alleged consensus on the need for more affordable housing in the city, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are demolishing social housing units. Not only that, but they are using taxpayer’s money to subsidise private building companies – they should be ashamed of themselves.”
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