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Party Time For Politicians

As you may have noticed from the wall-to-wall politics on your TV or in your newspaper, there are elections pending. It would have been nice, of course, if all this coverage and interest were devoted to the forthcoming local elections, but it took a general election to get people widely engaged. We ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 27 April 2017

We Are The Moderates Now

We live at a time when our political and economic systems have become dangerously unstable. Many of our political parties are in turmoil, the international situation is grave, demagoguery is replacing democracy. Growing numbers now question the neo-liberal economic system which has dominated for mor...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 April 2017

These Dangers Are Real And Threaten You!

The time may have come to stop pussyfooting around when we warn about the dangers of catastrophic climate change and let people know the real horrors that lie ahead. With extreme weather events now almost a daily occurrence somewhere on the planet, Arctic sea ice melting at unprecedented rates and y...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 07 April 2017

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Car-dependent sprawl for West Oxfordshire

Added on 12 September 2016

West Oxfordshire District Council is seeking Government support for destruction of one and a quarter square miles of farmland to make way for a so-called “garden village” and science park.

The Council has submitted an expression of interest to DCLG for a 320ha area next to the A40 trunk road six miles from the centre of Oxford, but just outside its green belt. The proposal is not in the Council’s previously submitted local plan.

“The demand for housing is very high locally and we are also committed to responding to the huge housing need identified in the city of Oxford, a substantial amount of which cannot be accommodated within the city’s own boundaries,” said cabinet member for housing and planning Warwick Robinson.

But despite the fact this housing pressure is caused by employment in the county outstripping housing, the plan includes a “campus-style science park” to attract investment and allow businesses to grow, potentially exacerbating the problem.

The proposed site lies across the A40 from Eynsham, a village already hugely expanded by low-density sprawl. It is up to four miles from the nearest railway station, however.

The 2,200 homes proposed would more than double its size, though a new shopping centre is planned.

“The location is only six miles from the centre of Oxford, just off the A40, and to the north of Eynsham,” says the prospectus. “It is only three miles from the planned new strategic employment area at Oxford Northern Gateway.”

It calls it “a genuine and timely opportunity to deliver an exemplar development for the 21st century on well-planned, designed and sustainable garden city princples”.

Though densities are not specified, it would certainly have the low-densities demanded of garden cities, but it is a fraction of the size of the settlements envisaged by Ebenezer Howard.

The Council says the site is free of constraints, though apparently this only means it is relatively flat, located outside the AONB and green belt, free of flood concerns and having no significant ecological or heritage interest.

Although the proposal suggests a park-and-ride, presumably to Oxford, would be included, the scheme is a prime example of low-density, car-dependent sprawl.

If DCLG supports the proposal, the Council would have to revise its local plan.

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