Property professionals have been warned of a power supply crisis in Oxfordshire due to increasing demand on the National Grid.

Rachel Woodman, (third from right in image), principal planner at Bidwells in Oxford, said the problem ‘throws a spanner in the works’ of delivering the sustainability agenda. And she called for developers, local authorities and Government to discuss funding the infrastructure needed for the increasing demand as gas is phased out and cars go electric.

One site in Bedfordshire needed £50 million from the local authority and Housing Infrastructure Fund to ensure it had sufficient power.

Speaking to around 65 guests at the OxPropSocial event on February 8 at the Oxford Retreat, she said: “I want everyone here to think about that case.  In Oxfordshire, we’ve not quite reached the (need for) £50m investment yet, but we’re nearly there.

“So at some point, someone is going to trigger that need for a new exit point from the grid, the need for significant new infrastructure and currently, there is no way to fund that.

“We need developers to group together and fund it, we need local authorities to step up and fund it, or we need the Government to step up and provide the funds.

“Right now that conversation isn’t happening. We’re having great conversations about the end result of sustainability, how we move to electric vehicles and all of this, but due to those distribution network problems, the providers are having an internal crisis about how they can deliver the infrastructure to deliver the power.

“How do they fund that? How do they bring it forward?”

She called for developers to consider where the power is coming from to ensure their developments can meet sustainability objectives.

She added: “For me, the big thing in 2022 is that we need to have national Government and local government having these conversations, we need to get them looking at how we’re going to fund the infrastructure to bring forward the sustainable agenda.

“Otherwise all those great things everyone has spoken about (at the meeting) are just not going to be achievable.”

Other speakers at the event were Kathryn Gundry, associate at WWA, Rebecca Bacon, senior planner at Savills Oxford and Ed Lifely, associate partner at Carter Jonas.

Image (l-r): Kathryn Gundry (WWA), Rebecca Bacon (Savills), Rachel Woodman (Bidwells) and Ed Lifely (Carter Jonas).

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