VILLAGERS fear plans by a garden centre to develop part of its site for housing, are the start of a massive development that could swamp the area.
Yarnton Nurseries in Sandy Lane, Yarnton, has applied to build 12 homes — four affordable — on part of its car park, in the Oxford green belt.
It last year submitted a planning application to Cherwell District Council for 43 homes but withdrew it to “resolve a number of issues”.
Residents fear the plan could pave the way for future development.
Dr Maria Carmen Giraldez, of Poppy Close, said: “I strongly believe this is just the beginning for the applicants to insist to have their original plans of a much bigger development approved.
“The amenities in the village such as school, medical centre etc are already at saturation point.”
Dr Giraldez also raised concerns about the impact on flooding and sewers and warned Sandy Lane could “not tolerate” extra cars.
Neighbour Malcolm Williams also wrote: “Because the number of houses has been reduced does not alter the policies to allow building on the Green Belt.”
Dr Ian Scargill, of the Oxford Green Belt Network, said the plan would extend the built-up area of Yarnton into the Green Belt.
He said: “What is proposed would have a significantly greater impact on the Green Belt than what is there at present.”
Poppy Close residents Michael and Gaynor White said: “Sandy Lane is a small country road and is not suitable for all the heavy traffic with the garden centre.”
Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance, which has a property opposite the garden centre, has also objected.
It said: “There is no possible way that the proposals can be argued to result in having no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt.”
But the nurseries said they have a large site, “dominated by car parking which is in excess of its needs”.
While in the Green Belt, the land has been previously developed and would provide “much needed housing”, according to the business.