Councillors in South Oxfordshire have called on the Government to pause the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) is to complain to the Government that the growth, envisaged by the Arc, would damage the environment.

The council approved a motion at its October 7 meeting, put forward by Cllr Robin Bennett, stating that while the Government had consulted people on the Vision for the Arc, ministers had already determined that the main priority should be economic growth.

SODC believes the Government failed to consider whether the project was necessary in the first place.

Cllr David Rouane, the new leader of SODC, will now write to Minister for Levelling up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove to ask him to pause the project.

If the project is to continue, Cllr Rouane will ask that he sets out what his aims for Arc are.

SODC will also ask that local authorities within the Arc are given more powers including the ability to set their own housing numbers.

Cllr Bennett said: “What the Government have put forward so far seems to many of us to be an arbitrary geographic construct which will drive excessive growth in the South East. 

“As currently defined, the Arc is not in residents’ interests, nor those of our environment.  I’m therefore pleased that councillors voted to support my motion to raise our concerns with the Government and to call for a pause on the project so its need and impact can be better considered.”

Cllr Rouane said: “My priority as leader of this council is to put the needs of our residents first. 

“We know there are major concerns over the potential impact of the Arc project and so will be asking the government to pause the project in order to properly consider its aims and potential impact. 

“As we get closer to COP26, the Government must show leadership in its actions on protecting the environment and tackling the climate emergency – pausing the Arc project and putting measures in place to prevent excessive growth with will be a significant step towards that.”

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