THE BOSS of Oxfordshire’s biggest social housing provider has hit back at protesters opposing new housing developments, warning homelessness will increase unless more homes are built.

Richard Peacock, the Chief Executive of SOHA Housing, said the county’s housing crisis is now so ‘critical’ that residents are ‘going to have to get used to’ more homes popping up near to where they live.

He was speaking to the Oxford Mail after a BBC camera crew came to Oxfordshire to make a TV series about the county’s housing problems.

The second episode of the series aired last Wednesday, focusing on the developers who are trying to create new communities out of nothing on the edge of Oxfordshire’s towns and villages.

Many of these new developments are being strongly opposed across the county as councils search for sites to build tens of thousands of much-needed new homes over the next 20-30 years.

Mr Peacock said: “I welcome the debate we are having, it is right to question where homes are being built and how many.

“But we are not building enough homes in the country full stop and we haven’t done so since the 60s which is why this crisis has built up to such a level.

“Buying a home here is ridiculous and unaffordable, even for a relatively wealthy family.

“Of course we should look at the details of every scheme and have the debate but there needs to be more recognition that expansion is now critically needed.”

SOHA, based in Didcot, specialises in social and affordable housing across Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and West Berkshire and built 274 new homes in the 2015-16 financial year.

Mr Peacock said his company had faced opposition when trying to develop new schemes in the past and called for a ‘more rounded discussion’ to try and improve the situation.

He added: “We have all witnessed the rise in homelessness, not just in our cities but also in our small towns and villages as well.

“It is awful, it is extreme, it is excessive and is as bad as it has ever been.

“Failure to build the amount of new homes needed will only lead to frustration for many and, in some cases, increases in homelessness.”