At the council meeting on 7th September, Conservative councillors pushed forward changes to the local plan that would concrete over vital greenbelt land. Progressive Oxfordshire, a coalition of Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Independent councillors, voted against the measure that local residents also oppose.
It has recently emerged that the proposed housing for the sites located on greenbelt land between the villages of Kidlington, Yarnton, and Begbroke will not be under the jurisdiction of Cherwell Council and will be allocated by Oxford City Council, bypassing local needs and concerns.
Residents of Kidlington, Yarnton, and Begbroke have consistently and loudly opposed the removal of greenbelt land for development.
Conservative councillors have steadfastly refused to listen to local residents, brushing off their concerns and ignoring numerous efforts by local councillors and residents to pause and review the project.
The partial review of the local plan to build over 4,000 houses on environmentally sensitive greenbelt land passed by 27 to 16.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Katherine Tyson, spokesperson for the Progressive Oxfordshire group, said, “Residents have made their views very clear, and they continue to be ignored by Cherwell District Council. I would have hoped that the rest of Cherwell would stand up for residents in other areas of the district. We are councillors, elected to stand up for our residents, not rubber stamps to approve speculative development on our protected Green Belt.
“The disingenuousness of Conservative arguments for this process has been laid bare; this very process opens up the green belt to speculative development – it doesn’t defend it. Conservatives have betrayed their principles, gone against our adopted Climate Change Emergency motion, and have shown that they do not believe in the principle of conservation or listening to residents.
“It is spitting in the face of local residents.
"Cherwell already has some of the worst air pollution in the country and this ill-conceived plan will only make the problem worse. What our residents will get will be increased grid-lock with more cars and less options with the closure of Sandy Lane."
Green Party Councillor, Ian Middleton said, “We're told we have no choice but to build on the green belt, but it is a choice. These houses are not even for the people of Cherwell, they're for Oxford. Why choose to sacrifice our most precious green spaces to another council's rampant expansionism?”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Conrad Copeland added, “This is yet another example of the contempt Conservative Councillors have for the residents of Kidlington, Yarnton, and Begbroke – going so far as to claim they haven’t heard very much opposition from residents. Well, we are here, we will be heard, and we will not forgive this betrayal.”
For more information:
Conrad Copeland [email protected]
Ian Middleton [email protected]