HOUSING: ‘Services too stretched’

Oxford Mail: Neil Clark Neil Clark

SCHOOLS, roads and other services are already bursting at the seams and cannot cope with more housing, according to community campaigners.

One of the biggest issues related to large new developments is how they will impact on Oxfordshire’s infrastructure.

Neil Clark, a member of North Hinksey Parish Council, said: “I do not think the infrastructure can cope with more houses.

“Here in West Oxford, we have the Botley Road jammed for large parts of the day and it is a massive problem. This is the way into Oxford if you come from Eynsham and Witney and work in Oxford and we are gridlocked but, incredibly, they are pumping more developments in.

“If you have got to build all these homes you have got to look at how you get people into Oxford because they cannot at the moment.”

Mr Clark said housing developers should contribute towards a mass transport system such as trams into Oxford city.

Education chiefs unveiled a £100m plan in September to build up to 10 new schools for 6,500 pupils across Oxfordshire to ease the pressure on places. The county council has set a five-year deadline to get the deals in place. The county has a serious shortage of primary school places, with particular pinchpoints in Oxford and Abingdon.

Officials have predicted an increase in primary school-age pupils from 45,800 in 2010 to 2011 to around 50,000 in 2015 to 2016.

The figures are calculated using population growth, the increase in the school-age population and demographic trends related to housing growth.

In Bloxham, residents and parish council members are already fighting large housing developments because Bloxham Primary School is at capacity.

Gloria Lester-Stevens, a member of Bloxham Parish Council, said: “The school is full and has no capacity – I think there is only one space in year five and another in six – and there is no room to expand.”

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