‘Hoot to Adopt Local Plan’ Conservatives Protest as S Oxon Cabinet Votes to Junk Local Plan

Key Test if Mc Vey is All Gobshite and No Trousers

Oxford Mail

CONSERVATIVES and residents held a protest aside a busy roundabout to try to gather support for the adoption of South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan.

Traffic built up on Broadway in Didcot and the occasional driver tooted their support as former council leader Jane Murphy and activists called on the authority to follow the plan on Thursday.

Later that evening, the council’s cabinet decided it would recommend to councillors that it dumps its controversial Local Plan and looks again at potential housing sites.

Vale of White Horse District Council has said it would open it up to speculative development.

Bill Service, a former SODC Tory councillor who lost his seat in May, said: “I don’t think the Liberals expected to take the council.

“They promise the earth and they said they were going to stop the houses in South Oxfordshire. But it worries me they haven’t got a plan B.

“We have always spoken the truth. There’s building coming whether we like it or not but let’s have it where we can control it.”

Didcot resident and mum-of-two Sam Slater said she must leave her home at 7.15am every morning to drop off her children at nursery and school to get to work at 8.30am.

She said there are traffic problems in ‘each access and access point in Didcot’ and that new infrastructure is needed to improve the town’s highways.

Councillors have said congestion would be reduced with £218m of Housing Infrastructure Fund money that the government has agreed for Didcot.

Resident Alan Woodley said his family can trace roots in the town back to 1450.

He said: “I am trying to run businesses. I have got several businesses in town and getting in and out of [Didcot] is just a nightmare. We have taken so many houses and we need better infrastructure.”

In a letter, sent on Thursday, Vale council leader Emily Smith warned that her authority faces a ‘very real and immediate risk’ to its five-year land supply if SODC ditches its Local Plan.

But following the decision taken by SODC’s cabinet, its leader Sue Cooper said: “We have considered the detailed matters relating to the Local Plan long and hard over the past few months and I’m pleased that we’re making a clear, decisive and strong recommendation to councillors.”

Mrs Cooper added: “In making this recommendation, my cabinet has sought to do the right thing, not the easy thing, and we will continue to work positively and constructively in the best interests of all South Oxfordshire residents while also tacking the climate emergency, which we have an enormous responsibility to address.”

SODC will decide whether to accept the cabinet’s recommendation next Thursday.