‘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.

5 thoughts on “‘Hoot to Adopt Local Plan’ Conservatives Protest as S Oxon Cabinet Votes to Junk Local Plan

  1. The ministry for housing has been involved for months in a series of letters, the latest of which is the holding direction. There is some dispute about what the ministry has meant.

    The stream of letters is interpreted by ruling Libdem and Green party councillors, and campaigners against the plan, as signalling the ministry wants to compromise by reducing the housing number in the plan at the same time as continuing with the HIF – otherwise why would they be offering to talk? See CPRE Oxfordshire statement in response to the holding direction:

    Other councillors say the ministry’s letters mean the plan has to proceed through examination and then adoption.

    The other point of disagreement is the council and campaign groups say the Core Strategy to 2027, adopted in 2012, is an up to date LP. The ministry does not seem to agree.

    Reaching an agreement on what the facts are on these two matters would help decision taking.

  2. “As your Cabinet have stated they wish to withdraw the plan, the Secretary of State is considering whether to give a direction under s.21(4) of the 2004 Act for the plan (or any part of it) to be submitted to him for his approval instead of the Council. ”

    The council’s officers have been in discussions with MHCLG for months. Can they not use meetings to agree how to proceed, instead of writing letters disagreeing with each other?

  3. Andrew

    Any idea what happened at Castle Point last night?



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