ONCE again the people living near Abingdon, Steventon and East Hanney will feel the trepidation that there may once again be a chance they will find a new ‘garden city’ on their doorsteps.

Planning minister Nick Boles lobbed in that particular grenade in his response to Wantage MP Ed Vaizey, who was asking for an urgent review of Oxfordshire’s housing targets.

The site was long earmarked for Thames Water’s reservoir and it took a sustained battle by locals to quash that scheme.

Then there was the laughable plan to build an airport there. That didn’t even make it to the runway, let alone achieve take off.

A planning consultant came up with the concept of a 30,000-home garden city but that one has gone quiet.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he will not impose such conurbations on unwilling communities, but Mr Boles’ comment leaves the door ajar.

As evidenced by all the plans for it in the past, that site is clearly being eyed up by many developers for different schemes as a prime plot.

People living in the Vale and beyond would be foolish to think they will win all future fights based on victories of the past.

It may be controversial but it could be imagined that if the huge housing target of 100,000 new homes by 2031 for Oxfordshire remains in place, political will may turn towards taking out almost a third of the tally in one fell swoop.

There is some sense if you go down that path. Instead of adding extra layers to the development onion of our current market towns, a whole new community built with all the required infrastructure in place has merit.