A COUNCIL has been told to go back to the drawing board in its search for sites for thousands more homes across Cherwell.

An inspector dramatically halted an inquiry over Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan last week, telling the council to come back in six months’ time with sites for 6,050 more homes.

It came months after a report by the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) which said Oxfordshire will need to build 100,000 homes by 2031.

The district council had mapped sites for 16,750 new homes by 2031. But the inspector said it needed to find sites for 22,800 homes.

Cherwell says it will now review sites already approved for development to see if they can take more homes.

The search will focus on Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington, and Upper Heyford, it said.

Independent councillor Les Sibley said: “The Local Plan’s in tatters. It’s going to be another years’ delay.

“This is a gift for developers who will be scrambling against each other to put in bids for land for potential houses.”

The Oxford branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England claim the SHMA report is deeply flawed and “wildly overstates” the numbers of homes needed.

Director Helen Marshall said: “We have put forward compelling evidence that the current SHMA is based on false assumptions and inaccurate predictions.”

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