WEST Oxfordshire District Council has welcomed a new Head of Planning and Strategic Housing.

He is Giles Hughes who has more than27 years’ experience of working in local government, including nine years in New Zealand.

He was formerly Head of Planning and Sustainable Development at East Cambridgeshire District Council.

“West Oxfordshire is a lovely district," he said. "Our biggest challenge will be to manage the intense growth pressures whilst preserving everything that is great about the area.”

His responsibilities include development management, planning policy, building control, conservation, economic development, strategic housing and looking after the long term planning of the District.

Mr Hughes replaces Natalie Blaken who left earlier this year to run her own business.