'West Oxfordshire is too pretty to be concreted over'

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HUNDREDS of West Oxfordshire residents have attacked plans to build almost 2,000 new homes in Carterton.

A two-month public consultation by the district council received 2,006 responses from individuals and groups concerned about proposed developments – and congestion on the A40.

A council ‘blueprint’ has outlined sites for 5,500 homes across West Oxfordshire, including 1,900 in Witney between now and 2029.

The preferred developments in its draft plan include 1,000 homes west of Witney and 300 homes in the east, plus 700 homes east of Carterton and 400 homes in the town centre. There is also a proposal for 1,000 homes for the west of Carterton.

About 700 people wrote to the council in what was a clear split whether the east or west should take housing. Almost 250 objected to proposed development east of the town and about 450 complained about the west. The majority backed plans to build in central Carterton.

West objector Sheila Clements said the east option was closer to shops, facilities, the town’s major employer RAF Brize Norton and the A40. She added: “The land by the Shill Brook on the northern side of Alvescot Road is exceptionally pretty and should not be concreted over.”

But east objector Paul Robinson said: “The proposed overbuild will irrevocably damage a beautiful corner of West Oxfordshire and result in the corrosion of the wonderful village community that I and my young family have been welcomed into.”

Bampton resident Philip Hicks, whose home was flooded in 2007, said: “That flooding was exacerbated by the new housing already built in Carterton.

“It seems unbelievable that yet more housing might even be considered in that area (east).”

Several residents used the public consultation to call for improvements to the A40 between West Oxfordshire and Oxford.

Mrs J Macdonald said: “This road is constantly gridlocked and can only get worse with the proposed building in the area. This must surely be a priority before any further development takes place.”

Dozens of residents also objected to building more homes in Woodstock – citing the town’s “limited and restricted infrastructure” – to protect its character.

Warwick Robinson, district council cabinet member for strategic planning, said: “The weight of public opinion is always important when political decisions are made, but I think when taking about the local plan the planning considerations perhaps carry more weight.

“But who knows what is going to happen when it comes before 49 different councillors.”

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