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Garden city planner silent on backing rumours
8:00am Tuesday 14th January 2014 in News
THE man behind a 25,000-home garden city plan for Oxfordshire has said he cannot comment on rumours of a Government report supporting the idea.
Town planner Ken Dijksman says he now has a “master plan” for an entirely new settlement between Abingdon, Steventon and East Hanney.
He was speaking after Liberal Democrat Party President Tim Farron suggested last week that Conservatives were concerned that the proposals could alienate voters in their southern heartlands.
Mr Farron’s calls for the report to be published have now been seconded by Lib Dem group leader on the Vale of White Horse District Council Richard Webber.
When asked if he knew anything about the supposedly “suppressed” Government report Mr Dijksman, of Newbury, said: “There are things happening which are confidential which I can’t talk about.”
But he added: “There are no other locations in Oxfordshire which can accommodate a garden city.
“This is not Green Belt, and the crucial thing is size. The most difficult thing about finding a location for a garden city is that it has got to be big enough to be self-sustaining and support a new town centre with shops and employment.”
The new conurbation would sit on more than 2,000 hectares of land, previously earmarked for a £1bn reservoir and an international airport.
Mr Dijksman continued: “Now that the reservoir has disappeared, the logical final use is a new settlement, that is why I think the Government has acknowledged the need for a garden city in Oxfordshire.”
He pointed out that the land in question would be close to a rail line to London Paddington and the A34.
Oxfordshire county councillor for Drayton and Marcham Richard Webber urged the Government to publish.
He said: “If there is such a report, please make it public.
“There is a lot of unhappiness around housing in the Vale of White Horse, this may be a better way to get housing than vandalising the villages with new homes.”
Local Conservatives said no such proposal existed.
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