Expressway: Minister Calls for Housing Plan


Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing, has written to all councils along the expressway route, asking for a settlement plan for 1,000,000 new homes.

Read the minister's letter here.

The clear message from this letter is that the expressway project and its associated 1,000,000 new homes appear to be going ahead, with government support.  The local authorities have only  been given until 14th September to prepare and submit proposals for ‘new settlements’ along the OxCam arc, to try and achieve the 1 million new homes target.  Oxfordshire’s pro-rata share of this total would be around 300,000 more homes, effectively doubling the county’s population in just 20 - 30  years (this is on top of the 100,000 new homes already planned for construction in the current Local Plan by 2031).  These ‘new settlements’ would presumably also influence where the expressway would go.

The Expressway Action Group believes this is both unachievable and undemocratic, since there won’t be time to consult councillors on any plan which council officers might prepare.  Any plans for a large or very large settlement should involve proper environmental, habitat, transport and services studies before a sensible decision on location and size could be made. Clearly they could not be carefully worked out in just 6 weeks  -  new towns take years to plan, not weeks!

There would certainly not be time to ask all Oxfordshire residents if they want a new town (or towns) built here, nor for any public debate on where it might go.

Many of the EAG's member parishes are in the South Oxfordshire District Council area, and SODC's full council has voted and formally resolved that any expressway route or corridor should run west of Oxford and via Bicester.  SODC and its officers should therefore oppose any large new settlements or towns in land to the south of Oxford - but the EAG suggests that as many as possible write to them asking them to respect and conform with that Council resolution, and not to propose any new settlements there to the Minister.

The EAG would like everyone to write to their District and County Councillors, MP and to the District and County Council leaders to express surprise and great concern.