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There Is A Cure For The Summertime Blues

It could be something of a relief to hear that the Government has decided not to rush into announcing changes on assessing local housing need in England. Just four weeks ago, communities secretary Sajid Javid said the plans would be announced in July. Then, after some daft ideas were floated in symp...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 03 August 2017

Petrolheads And Other Bright Sparks

It really took no time at all for the wheels to come off the Government plan to reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide in a mere 23 years time. The plan to end sales of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 certainly grabbed the headlines. It could mean, 40 years from now, there wou...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 28 July 2017

A Name Or A Retraction

Politics is a funny business, but somehow I cannot see young people singing Oh Sajid Javid at the tops of their voices the way some have begun serenading the Labour leader. But a Sunday newspaper is claiming the communities secretary is a convert to those wanting to bash the rich and ensure homes ar...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 17 July 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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