Bicester is angry Cameron and Clegg want to turn it into a garden city

Residents are concerned proposals could lead to traffic chaos and problems on public transport

Heather Saul
Tuesday 02 December 2014 09:27

Bicester has been chosen as the site for a new garden city as part of the Coalition's plans to deal with the housing shortage, Nick Clegg has confirmed.

The Oxfordshire town will have up to 13,000 new homes built in proposals due to be published tomorrow when ministers are also set to announce a range of other housing measures.

Nick Clegg has heralded the move as “a significant victory for the approach championed by the Coalition Government” in solving the housing shortage. He told The Telegraph: "I am delighted that Bicester can now be confirmed as a pioneer in what I hope will be another wave of garden cities in this country.”

But some residents appear less than impressed with the proposals and immediately took to Twitter to criticise the plans. Many of the reservations against building houses in Bicester concerned heavy traffic at the weekend, with residents fearing more houses could result in even more congestion.

There is already a resident-led petition calling for a halt to plans until traffic issues are resolved.

The petition reads: “Bicester, at weekends and Bank Holidays, is a no go area for Bicester residents because of the horrendous traffic and they park in the middle of the road, on grass verges and even between parking cones.

“Bicester residents deserve better than this.”

Others were worried about increased housing prices and council tax, as well as how a surge in the population would affect public transport.

Under the garden city initiative, a series of new communities with green spaces, sustainable transport and spacious homes will be built.

Earlier this year, the Government announced that Ebbsfleet in Kent had been picked to become the first modern garden city. It has plans to build three locally-led garden cities in total, each with at last 15,000 homes.

Bicester expressed an interest in following suit and is in line for a new railway station to serve the expanded population as part of rail plans previously announced by the Deputy Prime Minister.

North Oxfordshire MP Sir Tony Baldry, who backs the plans, told the Financial Times that Bicester has a "huge amount of brownfield land".

"We will have very strong rail links, east-west and north-south," he added.

Mr Clegg has previously claimed the Conservatives "held back the development of garden cities on the scale necessary" and promised at least ten will be created if the Liberal Democrats are part of the next government.

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