GROWTH in Oxfordshire will happen whether councils like it or not but it must be well planned, the city council's leader will say.

Government bodies have said they want hundreds of thousands of homes to be built in the county and in the 'arc' between Oxford and Cambridge.

And the city council's leader Susan Brown said it is not a question whether that area will grow in population – but how well it can respond to changes.

In response to a written question by the Liberal Democrats' leader, Andrew Gant, Ms Brown said the arc is 'undoubtedly an area with potential for significant economic growth'.

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The city council has embraced some parts of the growth, such as economic prosperity in and around Oxford.

But it has been critical of the proposed Oxford-Cambridge expressway.

Ms Brown added: "The economic assets that exist across the arc, including world-renowned universities, science, technology and innovation, have been recognised by the National Infrastructure Commission and government.

"Realising this potential will result in high quality jobs, international investment and exports that will benefit the national economy."

She continues in her written response, released ahead of a council meeting tonight: "The real question is not whether growth will or won't happen, but whether and how we properly plan for our local economy to thrive and ensure that growth is managed in a way that not only benefits the national economy but also delivers benefits to local businesses and communities.

"This means securing investment in infrastructure, housing and technology that helps manage and plan for growth in a clean, inclusive and sustainable way."

The city council meeting will start from 5pm at Oxford Town Hall and is set to run on until about 9pm.