EVER since local authorities began drawing up local plans the documents have proved controversial.

So it is no surprise that many people remain unhappy about the final proposals put forward by South Oxfordshire District Council, particularly the plans for Culham.

Many people who live in the village are understandably fearful about the impact of 3,500 new homes on their rural community.

But the fact remains that with sky-high house prices continuing to rise there is a desperate need for thousands of new homes across the county.

South Oxfordshire must play its part and if the council believes Culham is one of the most suitable sites then we must have a degree of faith in that decision.

That does not mean that those campaigning against the proposals do not have a point.

As John Cotton has recognised, there is a clear need for a new river crossing between Culham and Didcot and for more research into transport links in the area.

As has been pointed out many times before, there is no point building thousands of homes unless there is the infrastructure to cope.

Those who feel strongly about the issue have plenty of time to make their feelings known in the final consultation process, and the issues of transport can be addressed at this stage.

It would be wrong to think that this is the end of the local plan process, but those who want the Culham plans to be abandoned completely will now have to reassess their approach.

It is easy to criticise local authorities over the decisions that we perceive them to get wrong, but SODC also deserves some credit.

It has been caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to finding space for new homes and it has made some bold and unpopular decisions in the process.

Ultimately the housing crisis will never be solved without bold decisions, that may be unpopular in the short term but will, hopefully, be beneficial for the majority of people in the long term.

This is not the last we will hear of local plans, but we are certainly moving into the final stage of what has been a long process.