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Location of housing in Oxford and Brighton revealed in new RTPI study

16 November 2016

An RTPI study of the location of planning permissions granted for housing in two city-regions in the South East, Oxford and Brighton, has revealed different patterns but also common challenges.  

Different location patterns

In Oxford, 81% of housing permissions are shown to fall outside existing built up areas and the green belt, while in Brighton this is 54%.  Only 1% of permissions in Oxford are located within 10 minutes walking distance from a railway station, while in Brighton this is nearly 80%.

In Oxford and Brighton, 64% and 58% of units respectively are within 10km of major employment centres.

The study maps the location of planning permissions granted to 71 major housing schemes (with 50 units or more) in the city-regions of Oxford and Brighton between 2012 and 2015, in relation to major employment areas and railway stations.

Highlights need for strategic planning on regional level

James Harris, RTPI Policy Manager, said:

“This analysis of Oxford and Brighton reveals some of the common issues facing towns and cities across England, such as the need for cross-boundary consensus from local authorities on where to accommodate housing growth.

“Our maps and figures provide greater transparency on where housing permissions are being granted at the city-region scale, and the potential impact of these growth patterns on infrastructure. These spatial issues are often missing from national debates on housing.”

The study also contains notes from a roundtable discussion with planning experts from the South East, who considered the factors that were shaping these patterns of development in each city-region, and the impact these could have in the future.  

This South East study follows a national report “Location of Development” which mapped planning permissions for over 165,000 houses across twelve English city-regions. It found that almost 75% were close to major employment opportunities, while 13% were within easy walking distance of a railway station.

The research was carried out on behalf of the RTPI by Bilfinger GVA, and provides much-needed evidence on whether new development is occurring in sustainable locations.

Read: Location of Development - Mapping planning permissions for housing in two South East city-regions (full report)

Read RTPI’s new policy statement on Where should we build new homes

Listen: James Harris discusses the Location of Development project