CONCERNED residents believe a planned housing development in the West Oxfordshire village of Bampton will lead to further floods.

Developers want to build 160 homes in a field off New Road but campaigners say this will leave the village at risk of floods in the future.

The land is currently flooded and in 2007 water running off the field created floods in nearby streets, they said.

West Oxfordshire District Council is due to look at the proposal, from Richborough Estates, today at the council’s Lowlands Planning Committee.

Officers have recommended the scheme should be approved.

More than 330 people have signed petitions against the plans and 100 people have written letters of objection.

A similar development was refused planning permission last December.

Popular drama show Downton Abbey is filmed in the village, using the church as a backdrop for a number of storylines on the ITV series.

The show has brought in thousands of visitors from around the globe who are keen to see the filming locations, boosting trade for local pubs and tea shops.

Chairman of the Society for the Protection of Bampton, Trevor Milne-Day, said: “The run-off from this field was what caused the village to become flooded in 2007.

“My concern is who takes responsibility for the ditches once people move into the houses? Will it be the residents on the estate or the rest of the village?

“If they aren’t clear then that is going to cause problems. And we don’t just think it will affect Bampton, but also our neighbouring village Aston.”

Janet Newman, who can trace her family back to living in the village to 1791, is concerned about the development.

Mrs Newman, 66, of New Road, said: “Planners really need to take a look at the bigger picture. This could affect other villages as well.

“In 2007, areas which had never been flooded were flooded and this could happen again if these houses go up like it is being recommended to do so.”

And villager Lesley Campbell added: “This development is unsuitable to the area and the existing ditches are incapable of managing the current run-off.”

The Environment Agency has told WODC it has no concerns about the development but says measures should be taken to reduce flooding risk, including creating more ditches.

Danny Parkinson-Witte, of Richborough Estates, said: “We fully appreciate the concerns of local residents regarding flooding risk and this has been considered in detail as part of our planning application for a proposed residential development on New Road in Bampton.

“The proposed development and its drainage strategy will not increase flood risk. Critically, our proposal incorporates additional mitigation measures specifically designed to enhance the existing infrastructure to reduce existing flood risk in Bampton.

“Our clear intention is to reduce flood risk for the benefit of the local community and our development offers a unique opportunity to do so.”

The meeting will be held at 2pm at the council’s offices in Wood Green, Witney.