Dear Sir/ Madam

Somehow some of the biggest decisions affecting the future of Oxford, namely future growth and shape, have slipped through below the radar.

This happened with the dreadful dwellings the University built on the edge of Port Meadow. But this is far, far more important.

It is proposed to expand Oxford in all directions mostly building on Green Belt land. This will desecrate the unique setting in which the city has resided for centuries.

The main justification for this from Oxford City Council, district councils and the landowners (mostly the University of Oxford) is that these developments will meet Oxfords social and affordable housing needs.

This is nonsense. All the evidence shows that once developers get their hands on the land the fine words spoken in seeking planning approval disappear.

The idea, for example, that 30 to 50 per cent of development will be set aside for such local and social purposes will not happen. No councillor, no university or college leader can hide behind this.

The reason? The less affordable housing a developer builds the more profit they make. When the go ahead is given the developer almost always goes back to the council for something called a viability assessment.

This is used to demonstrate that they cannot make a profit on the percentage of affordable housing planned. They always seem to win! And they do so in private as this process is deemed confidential.

Organisations such as Shelter, and The Campaign to Protect Rural England, have published numerous reports exposing this but private builders, backed by specialist QCs, are a powerful force.

I say we need to get real in this debate. Big money is in play and I’m not sure that decision makers in the councils and university appreciate this.

It is not too late to open up debate and maybe the coming council elections is one such opportunity.

Kind regards

Nick Clarke

Eynsham Road,