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Housing development must not destroy the countryside that makes Oxfordshire such a great place to live

I'm proud that it was a Labour government that legislated to protect Britain's most beautiful countryside.

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The latest incarnation of the Vale of White Horse’s local plan still accepts the housing numbers imposed on it, which assume employment growth will occur as planned in Science Vale.

Stephen Webb says "I am proud that Labour created the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As the Harwell Campus is a ‘brownfield’ site within one of these AONBs, it is itself a suitable site for new housing but we should not be destroying the open land around it for ever. If and when employment growth does materialise at Harwell, we could debate where further development could go, but that time appears a long way off given the current rate of development." Labour would welcome some housing on the Harwell Campus because it could fund improved facilities for existing residents and reduce the need to travel to work.

The district council does appear to have accepted that its original plans would have seen too much housing within unspoilt countryside, but its response has been to move much of this housing to distant places like Faringdon without plans to improve the creaking transport infrastructure. The council should reconsider its plans.

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