THE Government has intervened in controversial housing schemes at Bloxham and Banbury.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles will now make a final decision on 75 homes off Barford Road and 85 off Milton Road, both in Bloxham, and 145 off Bloxham Road near the Salt Way path south of Banbury, with a deadline of September 23.

Local residents told Cherwell District Council during the planning process the Bloxham scheme would unacceptably expand the village, while there were concerns the 145-homes plan would break the “symbolic” barrier to the south of Banbury.

The council threw out the Bloxham plans in December but has not made a decision on the other.

Developers have argued the council is failing to ensure enough homes are being built to meet demand, with 351 built against a Cherwell-wide target of 500 in 2012/13.

Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry: “I am grateful the Secretary of State has chosen to make the decision on these various developments himself.”

But planning consultant Peter Frampton, responsible for the Milton Road scheme, said: “This Government wants to see increased housing delivery and I am surprised that he has called them in.”