A new head of planning and strategic housing has been appointed by West Oxfordshire District Council.

Giles Hughes who has 27 years’ experience in local government, succeeds Natalie Blaken, who left earlier this year to run her own business.

Mr Hughes, previously head of planning and sustainable development at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Our biggest challenge will be to manage the intense growth pressures, while preserving everything that’s great about the area.”

Warwick Robinson, the cabinet member for planning and housing, said, “I’m delighted to be welcoming Giles and look forward to having someone with his experience leading our planning and housing teams.

“It’s an extremely busy time for us, with major planning applications, because of the upturn in the housing market, and we are nearing the final stages of preparing our new Local Plan.”