The intentions of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) can often seem a mystery but its latest new direction is probably its most unexpected.

Ask Reading Borough Council or people living in congested villages like Sonning their thoughts on SODC’s long-running refusal to co-operate with Reading’s plan for a third bridge and the answer is likely to be a straightforward one.

Then there was the SODC Local Plan debacle in which the Government had to intervene to prevent it having to start from scratch after being almost completed, putting huge infrastructure funding at risk.

Now SODC is fighting to have the Oxford to Cambridge Arc ‘paused’ partly on environmental grounds.

There are reasons why some may oppose the Arc and Thames Tap has carried the thoughts of the Stop the Arc campaign. But for a council to oppose it on environmental grounds seem quite hard to grasp.

UK Property Forums has held events and run ample stories on our ArchWatch page which go into great detail about the sustainability objectives of the Arc. Few developments have put the environment so central.

Whatever people’s views on environmental and sustainability issues, two university cities where the environment is high on the agenda are Oxford and Cambridge. If linking and growing those learning centres with several others in between is a bad thing, then the whole sustainability agenda has to be in question.

The council’s own words appear to reveal a dislike of growth but it seems unclear how SODC would suggest the country recovers from Covid without it.

Despite the fact political leadership has changed, preventing growth seems to be a recurring policy.

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