Housing Scrapped

Plans for new homes in South Oxfordshire have been put on hold until the Government reveals its new regional planning strategy.

The development project was due to be discussed at a council meeting today (03/06) - but Labour's goal to build 40,000 new homes in Oxfordshire by 2026 has now been scrapped by the coalition Government.

In a letter to all council leaders, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, said they were going to "rapidly abolish regional spatial strategies and return decision making powers on housing and planning to local councils".

The decision by South Oxfordshire District Council to halt any discussions on development plans has been met with enthusiasm but some residents who were unhappy about the proposed expansion.

Susan Riding, of Charlton Village Road in Wantage, told Heart the longer it stays that way the better.

"We've got so much lovely green belt around us, it would be such a shame to start building on it. Our schools, doctors and dentists are already full so I don't see how the infrastructure would have coped. I hope whatever they do next, they just think about it. The local councillors need to come out and actually have a look at the areas they're talking about building on".

Mike Rose, from Wallingford runs a pressure group against the proposed developments.

"Well it's good news in some respects," he said, "but now it's a waiting game. We just have to hope that the number of properties they build really is reduced. 750 new homes in this part of Wallingford just wouldn't have been sustainable - it would have meant a 28% increase in one fell swoop - we just don't have the infrastructure. I recognise there's got to be some new housing but let's just hope it's done with a sensible approach."

Talks on the development are unlikely to resume until further advice is issued by the Secretary of State.

Councillor Ann Ducker, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council said, "It has left us in a bit of a vacuum and we're now waiting on new instructions from the Government".

"It isn't a good position to be in either for the residents or the developers. I feel we've got to find a solution as soon as possible so we can move forward in a positive way with local residents".

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