A COUNCIL has further delayed changing a critical housing plan – despite other authorities urging it to make a decision.

South Oxfordshire District Council said it will not hold cabinet or council meetings to discuss its Local Plan until October. Planned meetings for September were cancelled on Monday.

That has caused concern that £218m of infrastructure funding for the Didcot area could be delayed and open a district up to speculative development.

A South Oxfordshire council spokeswoman said the authority cancelled next month’s meetings to hold further talks with government about its housing plans.

But Vale of White Horse District Council’s deputy leader urged South Oxfordshire to consider the impact of Housing and Infrastructure Funding (HIF) being lost.

READ MORE: Council wants to delay controversial homes plan but keep £218m of funding

Debby Hallett told South Oxfordshire’s leader Sue Cooper, in an email posted on their respective councils’ websites: “If we were to lose HIF, our council would immediately be placed into a position of not being able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

She added: “This would place our council and our residents in a difficult position.”

Last month, South Oxfordshire council’s cabinet member for planning, Leigh Rawlins, said it ‘wouldn’t be sensible to make a knee-jerk decision and crash on’ on whether 28,500 new homes would be built in the district by the mid-2030s.

But there was criticism that the authority had chosen to ‘fudge’ deciding one way or another. That will now intensify.

There is considerable worry over concerns the county council will not be able to progress the HIF bid in September as it has planned.

It was awarded the money by the government in March to pay for projects including the A4130 widening from the Milton Interchange towards Didcot.

It is hoped the money will be spent on Didcot’s new Science Bridge, a crossing between the A415 and A4130 between Culham and Didcot and a Clifton Hampden bypass.

READ AGAIN: Cherwell council homes at Oxford Green Belt golf club are backed

The South Oxfordshire council spokeswoman said: “After the July council meeting, we arranged special cabinet and council meetings to take place in September to consider the Local Plan.

"We’ve cancelled these meetings to allow more time for the necessary background work to take place, to allow ongoing conversations with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to continue, and for the reports to be prepared.”

South Oxfordshire council is led by a Lib Dem-Green coalition following May's local elections.