IT’S time to bust a few myths about housing.

The first is that building more houses will bring the price down and they will become affordable. Not so.

There can never be sufficient houses built to affect market forces significantly.

Average house prices are about £217,500 in the UK being about eight times the average full time salary, so houses remain unaffordable for most young people.

The ‘housing crisis’ is one of affordability, especially as wages rise slower than house prices. Developers have to be persuaded to build sufficient affordable houses.

What housing shortage? In 2015 there were an estimated 610,123 empty homes in England. The release of these for occupation would help a great deal.

House prices are boosted in areas of economic growth and that is where we are in Oxfordshire, in the middle of a growth arc designed by the Government and the counties’ Growth Boards to stretch from Oxford to Cambridge.

A circular mantra is set in motion, 'We need houses for all the people coming to take the new jobs' and,

'We need jobs for all the people coming to the new houses'. I have heard both uttered many times at council meetings.

Our county is the most rural in the south-east of England but this does not mean we have an endless supply of land for development.

Cherwell Council’s Local Plan 1 was put in place to ensure that development happens in specific designated areas.

It was meant to stop opportunistic development on other sites.

But the great land grab is definitely still happening driven currently by the review of Local Plan 1 to squeeze into Cherwell District another 4,400 houses on top of those identified in the original Local Plan. These are intended to help Oxford provide for its ‘unmet housing need’ which as yet has not been proven, as Oxford has not completed its own Local Plan to accurately determine how many more houses it needs.

Why does this matter? It matters because it makes villages like Caversfield vulnerable to more development than it is meant to take.

Caversfield is classed as a Category C village which means it is appropriate for ‘conversions and infilling’ rather than ‘minor development’. Despite this, housing developers have put forward Options on at least four green field sites.

Developers around Bicester are getting more aggressive. One site in Caversfield which for years was unmanaged grassland, has recently been stripped bare of vegetation, presumably ahead of a planning application. Another proposed District Wildlife Site has also been stripped bare, surrounded by high fencing, and an appeal put in against planning refusal.