A SLEW of Oxfordshire politicians have lambasted plans for a new Oxford-Cambridge Expressway over a lack of transparency.

Councillors have said the announcement by Highways England last week, that it will not hold any public consultation on three potential routes for the new motorway until one has already selected one, is undemocratic.

Oxfordshire County Councillor for Chalgrove Steve Harrod said: “It is essential that local residents have a say in the formation such wide-ranging and drastic changes as are being discussed behind closed doors.

“The impact on the character of the countryside of the proposed southern route would be devastating to the villages and their residents in the path of this draconian suggestion.”

“Whilst I am in principle supportive of the concept of the O2C Expressway, to consider a route with such extraordinary repercussions, without consultation, undermines the very core of democratic local government.”

Liberal Democrat county councillor for Wheatley Division Kirsten Johnson added: “This is the most important infrastructure project for our region in a generation, and it is happening behind closed doors without any input from the residents it will affect most.

“People are just not aware of the huge and adverse impact the Expressway would cause to our environment if a Southern route is selected. We need to have an open debate on the merits of each route.”

Planning of the £3bn expressway is being led by the government's National Infrastructure Commission.

The commission and Highways England are looking at three possible routes.

The first would upgrading the existing A34 and Junction 9 of M40, then run past Bicester towards Milton Keynes (A43/A421); the second would create a new road leaving the A34 near Abingdon then running south of Oxford through 10 miles of Green Belt, then North from Wheatley to Bicester then the A421, and the third would see a new road laid south of Oxford through Thame and Haddenham to Aylesbury.