A HUGELY-CONTROVERSIAL plan setting out where thousands of new homes will be built in Oxfordshire is now likely to be finally approved tomorrow.

South Oxfordshire District Council's cabinet, its most senior councillors, has proposed the full cohort of elected councillors adopt the hated Local Plan when it meets tomorrow night.

However the cabinet, which met last night, was far from unanimous that the plan should be taken forward.

MAPPED: The huge sites where new homes could be built in South Oxfordshire

Some of them made impassioned speeches against it, and several abstained from a vote on taking the plan to full council, where its final fate will be decided.

Members of the public from villages across South Oxfordshire which will feel the effect of some of the 28,500 homes proposed in the plan also spoke at the cabinet meeting, asking the councillors to scrap the plan.

There was a resigned tone from the cabinet as they discussed taking the plan to full council for final approval.

Several of them expressed concerns about the democratic impact of passing the plan: the council's leading Green-Liberal Democrat coalition was elected partly on the promise to scrap the plan in 2019.

David Rouane, the cabinet member for housing and environment said he and his colleagues had been 'naive' to think they had a true choice over the plan.

This was because Robert Jenrick, the Government's Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government stepped in, ordering them to pass the plan by December 2020 instead of scrapping it as they wished.

He added: "I was brought up to believe we lived in a democracy governed by one person one vote. I have learned that person is the Secretary of State and he has that vote."

Maggie Filipova-Rivers, cabinet member for community services, apologised to the members of the public who attended the meeting, describing the council's powers as 'shockingly, shockingly limited'.

She abstained from the vote and added: "For our opposition I would like to say this is a pyrrhic victory. You have inflicted harm not only on your neighbours and yourselves but also people’s faith in local democracy."

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Council leader Sue Cooper said: "Members of the public must realise after listening tonight we are in this cleft stick and how little choice we actually have in the matter."

Andrea Powell, the cabinet member for corporate services said that though the council had been elected on the promise to scrap the Local Plan, it had ‘earned the right’ to carry out its other plans for the district at the ballot box.

The motion for debate drafted by the cabinet for full council 'records' the Government's orders to pass the Plan despite objections from local residents, and proposes that the Plan is adopted.

Councillors will debate the plan at 6pm tomorrow.