There were some very important items at this meeting.
The council also considered plans for Barton West and also the latest round of attacks on HMO tenants and landlords. The use of a house as an HMO (that means 3 or more unrelated people living there) is a different planning use class and Labour has made it a requirement that all changes to use class C4 will require planning permission and that change of use from C3 (family home) to C4 will require planning permission. Even more worrying is that planning permission will be refused if there are more than 20% of properties in that street already in use as HMOs. I think that will be catastrophically disastrous for Oxford’s housing situation. We’ll see.
I am utterly appalled at some of the judgemental and social-sorting based on tenure language that is being used by this Labour Council. Try “However, in some areas of the city, high concentrations of HMOs are resulting in changes to the character of the local area, and may also contribute to local parking problems, large numbers of transient households, and the affordability of renting or buying homes in Oxford. This has led some people to believe that their communities are becoming unbalanced, because the number of short‐term tenants with less established community ties has grown too large.”
I think that’s outrageous and hope that lots of Oxford-dwellers will agree. I see it as nothing more than a direct attack on students, honest landlords and anyone elsewho can’t afford to live in Oxford in any other way than in an HMO.
Another thing discussed was the issue of adopting some legislation to allow the licensing of horse-drawn carriages in the City Centre. This was being recommended by the General Purposes Licensing Committee but I am pleased that the Full Council saw that any horse drawn carriages would be inappropriate in such a constrained City as Oxford for reasons both of horse welfare and pedestrian, cyclist safety. I was glad to be one of the 27 that voted against the Licensing Committee’s recommendation. This shocking video from New York is one of the things that convinced me to vote against.
A long and tiring meeting and some really stupid planning decisions rushed through by our current megalomaniac Labour Administration if you ask me!