Abingdon & Witney College students reveal fears over high housing costs in Oxfordshire

Jan 28, 2020

​Many young people across the county are likely to move away from Oxfordshire due to high house prices.

Students at Abingdon and Witney College shared their hopes and fears for the future as part of an engagement session about the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. Over two sessions at the college’s Abingdon and Witney campuses, some 50 young people were asked if they planned to stay in the county and work locally when they were older.

And the majority admitted they could move elsewhere, with housing and living costs cited as being the main reasons for leaving – and many saying they did not believe wages would be able to keep up despite a strong local economy.

In the 45-minute session, the participants were tasked with thinking about what changes we might see by 2050 and how they might affect the county.

Among the responses were automation in jobs, smart homes and the continuing decline of our town centres. Climate change was also a significant issue for the groups, with the majority believing action was needed now.

But most believed petrol cars would still be the main form of transport despite all Oxfordshire councils declaring a climate emergency and Oxford City Council proposing a zero-emission zone in the city. Many said public transport fares were already too high and believed they would continue to rise.

And new technology such as electric vehicles would be unlikely to solve the problem as they would be prohibitively expensive for most amid concerns about the infrastructure needed to support them.

Those taking part admitted the sessions highlighted the difficult decisions needed in trying to solve the various problems currently facing us. For example, many commented that more affordable houses needed to be built across Oxfordshire but were worried about the impact that would have on the environment.

Another session is planned at the college’s Common Leys campus, with further sessions also planned at City of Oxford College next month. The responses will be presented in a report and help to shape the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.