Sir – It is good news indeed that South Oxfordshire is thwarting the city council’s scheme to concrete over the Green Belt south of Grenoble Road (Report, December 13).

This land is not only precious green space for the Leys, but is wholly in South Oxfordshire. It is owned, however, by Thames Water, Magdalen College . . . and the city council itself.

Since removal from the Green Belt would increase land values by hundreds of per cent, and produce very fat cheques indeed for landowners, their motives for city expansion can hardly be unmixed.

Indeed they are understood to have discussed a profit-sharing agreement. The city’s vision for the future of Oxfordshire seems to be of an ever-expanding metropolis, grabbing growth for itself, throwing out new industrial and housing estates to creep inexorably outwards across our Green Belt and the surrounding countryside.

Our vision is very different. We see Oxford remaining a relatively small, and as yet largely untarnished, jewel of excellence, set in and set off by its Green Belt, with growth shared among a network of our other towns. That way wealth would be distributed, not hogged; housing need would be less, and would be in small increments to existing settlements, not vast estates; and travel to work would be reduced as jobs would be created where people live. Oxfordshire’s economy, and that of the city itself, depends on the quality of the countryside, the intimate nature of Oxford itself, and the individual characters of our villages and towns.

The Green Belt secures all of this. It is the most popular of all the planning controls which protect us, and helps protect Oxford from its own councillors too. It proves its value to us all, in the city, in the Green Belt, or beyond it, every day. Tanks off our lawn, city council.

Michael Tyce, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Waterstock