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A LOCAL plan is needed “as soon as possible” in West Oxfordshire to protect the district from speculative development, according to a councillor.

West Oxfordshire District Council’s economic and social overview and scrutiny committee chairman Peter Handley said it is better for the council to push through the plan than work out how infrastructure will be improved.

On Tuesday, his committee declined a request from four councillors to ‘call-in’ the draft plan before a public consultation.

The councillors raised questions about a lack of infrastructure planning for north Witney and Woodstock.

Mr Handley said: “We can’t talk about infrastructure until the developers say what they want and submit their plans for the various sites.

“It was said that we would be giving a green light to developers by not addressing this but the longer we don’t have a local plan in place, the more chance you are going to get speculative developers submitting plans to put houses everywhere.”

The local plan proposes building 9,450 homes in the district by 2029.

The public consultation had been due to start on Monday, July 28 but just begin yesterday until Friday, September 19.

Comments will be taken into consideration and a final version of the plan will be published and submitted to an independent inspector for examination in spring 2015.

s For more information visit westoxon.gov.uk/draftlocalplan