Given Oxford’s housing shortages and the millions being secured from Government to boost innovation across the county, Oxford City Council can be forgiven for wanting to get on with the Northern Gateway scheme.

But no one should pretend that the area action plan agreed by councillors and now going for public consultation comes close to answering all concerns about the potential implications for the already chronically congested roads north of the city.

The issue was picked up when the city’s core strategy went to a planning inspector four years ago. Only now we have a bigger scheme than initially expected.

We know the number of homes is being increased by 150 per cent, and the area set aside for science and research jobs is 90,000m sq — here too there has been a significant increase.

More homes and more jobs will mean more traffic of course.

It is true that Oxfordshire County Council wants to press ahead with a whole number of schemes — with money secured for much of the work already — with improvements to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts and the provision of a new link road between the A40 and the A44.

But the Oxford Civic Society and others are concerned about the lack of evidence available to show that even with these schemes completed, the roads will be able to cope.

Once again we have to express the hope that there will be continued and close co-operation between the city council and Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.

The Barton Housing scheme set an unhappy precedent. Some readers may remember how the city council had wanted to introduce a 40mph speed limit on the A40, north of the Green Road roundabout, which was opposed before the inspector by Oxfordshire County Council, who had concerns about cutting the limit.

The exasperated inspector overseeing the inquiry ended up warning the councils that failure to reach agreement on the speed limit could have serious implications for the whole Barton scheme.

The stakes are even higher when it comes to the roads around the Northern Gateway scheme, with the issues altogether more complicated. The city’s ambitions will count for little unless the county can address not only the existing traffic chaos but the challenges posed by creating a new community, science park, with a hotel all on one site.

Already Jean Fooks has raised the importance of ensuring that those living there should be integrated into the city, perhaps by introducing a 30mph speed limit. Either way the city would be wise not to hasten to a public examination too quickly.

It was fitting that the Northern Gateway plan went to the same meeting where councillors gave the go-ahead to help fund a scheme to finally put right the traffic nightmare not long ago created at great cost in Frideswide Square.