A COUNCIL boss has denied claims by campaigners that major decisions about the future of Oxfordshire were being made “behind closed doors”.

The comments came after the Oxfordshire Growth Board – featuring the leaders of all of the county’s biggest councils – met publicly for the first time on Thursday.

The board was formed to make strategic decisions on major development and infrastructure projects, including suggesting where thousands of homes could be built across the county.

The board has commissioned a study of the Oxford Green Belt to identify areas which areas could be suitable for housing.

But the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has accused the councils of secrecy.

At the packed meeting on Thursday, several activist groups attended and submitted written questions but were told they could not be answered immediately.

CPRE Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall said: “The Oxfordshire Growth Board plans to change rural Oxfordshire into a growth area, bringing in tens of thousands of new people and constructing the equivalent of a new Oxford every 10 years.

“These plans have been progressed behind closed doors for the past two years, without any public consultation and almost to the point of no return.”

But Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said “Nothing we are talking about has been enshrined in local plans yet and that is where the consultation will take place.

“There is no question of things being done behind closed doors, because it is a public committee.”