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Oxford City seeks 'Right to Grow'

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 09:12

Oxford City Council has leapt onto new Labour proposals to give cities a 'Right to Grow', but this could only mean expansion into the Oxford Green Belt....

The proposals would allow the Planning Inspectorate to arbitrate between authorities to allocate housing and then oversee a fast track consultation to agree housing development. Oxford City is one of four councils that have registered their interest, alongside Stevenage, Luton and York.

Helen Marshall, Director, CPRE Oxfordshire said: "The trouble is that any serious expansion of Oxford would have to be into the Green Belt, and the point of the Green Belt is its permanence. It protects the surrounding villages but also preserves the historic setting of Oxford, which is what makes the city so special in the first place.

"The people of Oxfordshire, including many Oxford City residents, have repeatedly made it clear that they wish to keep the Green Belt intact. The City Council has been frustrated that it can't get what it wants through the normal democractic processes, so is now looking to move the goalposts. It appears entirely contrary to the spirit of the Localism Act, which the Labour Party has said it would continue to support if it came back into power.

"There are other options, before we start building all over our countryside. For example, we welcome the news that the Labour Party is also to look into the issue of 'landbanking', with developers sitting on existing permissions for over 400,000 houses, but not yet getting on and building them.'



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