SIR Vince Cable visited an Oxfordshire district on Saturday to kick-start the Liberal Democrats' local election campaign.

The outgoing party leader met activists in Harwell and Blewbury, with the Lib Dems hoping for a major swing in the Vale of White Horse in May.

Sir Vince briefed party members about last week’s Brexit votes and listened to concerns about the lack of infrastructure to support housing growth around the county.


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Afterwards, he said: "It was wonderful to spend time campaigning with the Vale Lib Dem team. Some really excellent candidates and councillors impressed me with their knowledge, organisation and enthusiasm."

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The party are focussing on housing in the campaign, claiming that the Vale is not building the necessary infrastructure to cope with developing 'three times the homes it was required to during 2016-18'. Thousands more are included in its Local Plan.

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Councillor Emily Smith, the Lib Dem Group Leader on the Vale, added: “Residents are really angry that the Junction at Lodge Hill will not be in place before 600 of the homes north of Abingdon are built.

"In the Wantage and Grove area thousands of new homes are being built, yet the Vale has just pulled plans for the new leisure centre. And now the Conservative-run County Council has pulled its bid for funding for the B4044 Community Path.”

Sarah Medley, Liberal Democrat Candidates in Blewbury and Harwell Ward, added: “Most of the homes on Great Western Park are now occupied, yet there is still no sign of the new doctor’s surgery, work on the community centre has only just started and we are not allowed to use the play park because it hasn’t been handed from the developer to the council. It’s incredibly frustrating for new and existing residents”

The council is currently made up of 29 Conservative and nine Liberal Democrat councillors.

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Blewbury and Harwell candidate Hayleigh Gascoigne added: “We are also concerned about the lack of genuinely affordable homes being built across the Vale.

"Rents in this part of the country are also incredibly high and I think the district council needs to look at owning its own housing stock again.”

Sir Vince has said he will step down after the May 2 election, with Oxford West and Abingdon's Layla Moran touted as a possible replacement.