A FORMER council leader has said his local authority is in ‘La La Land’ if it thinks an updated planning document is better than one rejected earlier this year.

John Cotton resigned as South Oxfordshire District Council’s (SODC) leader in March after his controversial plan for major building projects until the 2030s was rejected by councillors.

Many of his Conservative colleagues were unhappy about a plan to build on Chalgrove Airfield, a proposal backed by the Government’s Homes England agency.

But in a proposal for a new Local Plan released by SODC last week, it said it still wants to build on the airfield – but with a handful of other new controversial sites on the Green Belt.

Mr Cotton tweeted: “Going to be odd watching councillors vote in favour of the very same plan they rejected nine months ago, but now with Green Belt bells on and an even bigger land supply millstone. La La Land.”

SODC said it wants to build on Green Belt land around Oxford, most notably off Grenoble Road. It hopes to build 1,700 homes there by 2034. Oxford City Council has been keen to build homes there for more than 20 years, but as leader Mr Cotton said ‘exceptional circumstances’ would need to be met on the site.

SODC also said it still wants to build on Green Belt land at Culham. It said it would build 1,850 homes there by 2034, not the 3,500 originally anticipated.

Bayswater Brook, to the north east of Oxford but within SODC’s boundaries, and Northfield, to the south east of the city, could also be included.

But the airfield proposal – where 2,025 homes could be built by 2034 – is still likely to anger some Conservative councillors.

SODC is dominated by the Tories, with 32 of 36 councillors belonging to the party. Many councillors have previously said they were concerned over the implications of moving internationally successful ejector seat manufacturer Martin-Baker off the airfield.

Homes England has promised to pay for key infrastructure for the new development, where it wants 3,000 homes eventually. But Oxfordshire County Council has previously opposed the scheme because it said only about half of the £180m needed for new roads had been offered.

Ken Glendinning, Homes England’s head of strategic land, said: “Our proposals will deliver sustainable growth at Chalgrove Airfield including 3,000 new homes, employment space, community, education and health facilities, public green space and upgrades to highways infrastructure in the local area.

“We will continue to work with South Oxfordshire District Council, Oxfordshire County Council, surrounding parish councils, other stakeholders, landowners and the wider community.”

Last week Chalgrove councillor David Turner said the development would ‘destroy’ the village.