Oxford Homeless Hostel to Become Luxury Apartments


Developers have announced that they intend to demolish homeless hostel Simon House to make way for 30 new luxury apartments.

If the plans are approved by the City Council, the Central Oxford homeless shelter, which had been providing for 52 people, will be demolished as part of the plans which will see absolutely no affordable homes provided on site.

City Council policy dictates that at least 50% of homes built in a development must be 'affordable', a term that has little baring on genuine affordability in Oxford. It requires homes to be for social rent - council homes - or that homes are 20% lower than their market value.

This policy has frequently been skirted by Oxford City Council, with affordable homes recently being bulldozed just round the corner from Simon House, only to be replaced with 59 luxury apartments. At the same time, in less than half a square mile, the construction of five new hotels are in the pipeline.

The underlying issue in Oxford is the Labour-run administration's focus on commercial expansion. Many of the new jobs that have been created in Oxford have been low-paid, however with soaring rents and house-prices, there is precious few places in the city that these people can live.

Oxford Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Homelessness & Rough Sleeping, Conor McKenzie, said:
"Building luxury apartments on the site of a homeless hostel is very telling of our city's approach to both housing and homelessness.

"The City Council's continual focus on low-wage, commercial expansion is creating deep divisions in Oxford. We're seeing young people and public service workers being priced out.

"It's time we turn the focus toward building much-needed affordable and social homes, addressing the ridiculously high cost of renting and buying."

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