A political opposition group is concerned over future developments on green belt land after the collapse of county planning proposals.

The opposition group on Cherwell District Council (CDC) – made up of Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent councillors – has expressed concern about the collapse of the Oxfordshire 2050 plan announced last week.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Ian Middleton, who also represents Kidlington, said a statement issued by Cherwell’s Lead Member for planning Councillor Colin Clarke, ignited fears that Cherwell may once again work with Oxford City Council to facilitate yet more building in Cherwell to cover housing needs in the city, particularly on green belt land.

As part of a recent local plan review, Cherwell agreed to site 4400 houses on green belt in and around Kidlington, Yarnton and Begbroke to meet Oxford’s housing needs.

In his statement, Mr Clarke said: “In order to fulfil our legal commitment to cooperate in planning matters, we will explore the potential to continue working on an evidence base with the city council and any of our districts partners who would want to work with us.”

Mr Middleton said: “Part of the reason the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan collapsed was because the city council insisted on the highest level of growth whilst district councils, apart from Cherwell, preferred more moderate targets.

“The fact that Cherwell’s lead member for planning is now talking about further co-operation with the city is very worrying.

“The last time Cherwell co-operated with the city we ended up with plans to concrete over vast swathes of green space in the area I represent which is underway now.

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“We desperately need affordable housing in this area, but housing built in Cherwell should be for Cherwell residents and their families, not just the city.”

Councillor David Hingley added: “It’s important at this moment that Cherwell move to more sensible levels of development that respect the wishes of our local communities, provide the necessary infrastructure and protect the green spaces around our villages and towns.

“Cherwell must avoid becoming a spill-over repository for unmet housing needs elsewhere, and we believe the council should strongly object to potential speculative proposals that fly in the face of what our residents want.”

Councillor John Broad said: “The Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment had three levels of growth, all of which were proved by the Kidlington Development Watch consultants to be wrong.

“Forced ‘transformational’ growth suggested by both CDC and the city have never been agreed by the Oxfordshire community.

“Conservative District Council seats were lost in areas where this overdevelopment was proposed, and any continuation of the same policy will be dealt with at the ballot box in future elections.”    


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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