A GARDEN city will not be imposed on Oxfordshire, the Government announced yesterday as it set out its prospectus for new settlements of 15,000 homes.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who delivered “a call to arms” for a new generation of garden cities, said schemes should be locally led and have the backing of local people.

Oxfordshire and countryside in the “arc of prosperity” between Oxford and Cambridge have repeatedly figured in speculation about where three new garden cities would be.

Mr Clegg promised “high-quality homes in thriving new communities”, with potential sites yet to be identified.

He said: “Today I publish a new garden cities prospectus, which calls for local areas to submit their plans for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.

“This is a call to arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals to develop their own garden cities.”

The Government hopes a £1bn infrastructure fund for large housing sites will be an incentive, while any proposals should have the support of local councils, both district and county.