AN 'emergency public meeting' will see residents and politicians discussing the dispute about where new homes should be built in South Oxfordshire.

A group called A Better South Oxfordshire has organised a meeting to discuss plans for an Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, as well as the district council's suspended local plan.

Speakers invited to the meeting include John Howell, MP for Henley; Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East; Sue Cooper, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council; Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council; Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council; and Emily Smith, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council.

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It will take place on Saturday at Wheatley Park School between 2pm and 4pm.

A poster for the meeting said: "The government is considering taking planning powers away from our district council.

"What does the future hold? How can we make our voices heard?"

SODC's local plan was set to be discussed in October last year, but government housing minister Robert Jenrick took it out of the council's hands for fear the authority would scrap the plan and risk losing millions of pounds of funding across Oxfordshire.

Residents and politicians in South Oxfordshire have said this decision was undemocratic, because the Tory government took control of the plan from the council's Green-Liberal Democrat coalition.

The council was elected in May last year, replacing the former Tory administration, with the aim of changing aspects of the local plan to stop overdevelopment, as well as homes being built in areas residents think are inappropriate.

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Ms Cooper and Mr Jenrick have recently exchanged letters about the plan.

The housing secretary wrote to SODC on January 7 to say he considered the council to be without a local plan, which means they are at risk of developers building wherever they like.

He gave the council until January 31 to explain why.

Council leader Sue Cooper replied to him on January 17 saying there is still planning guidance for South Oxfordshire which is up to date in a document called the Core Strategy.

She asked to meet with Mr Jenrick face to face.

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