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WOODSTOCK could more than double in size after plans were unveiled to build 1,500 homes.

The proposals to build on land owned by the Blenheim Palace estate, east of the town, are going out for public consultation next week.

A 150-unit care village, supermarket, primary school, park and ride and football facility would also be built as part of the scheme by developer Pye Homes.

It comes after Blenheim Palace estate bosses revealed they were considering selling part of the 10,000-acre estate to fund £40m palace repair work needed over the next 20 years.

Woodstock mayor Julian Cooper, also a West Oxfordshire district councillor for Woodstock and Bladon, said there were already about 1,300 homes in the town and infrastructure could not cope.

He said: “I would be very interested to see how they suggest we will cope with car parking in the town centre.

“Unless they come up with a satisfactory response I’m not inclined to be in favour of it.”

Planning consultants West Waddy, on behalf of the estate and Pye Homes, has notified both Cherwell District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, as the 66-hectare development would straddle both districts on land between the A44 Oxford Road and Shipton Road, next to Oxford Airport.

It is currently “scoping opinion” to find out how much information is needed for an environmental impact assessment, ahead of submitting a planning application.

It is beginning a broader public consultation next week.

The scheme would include up to 3,000 square-metres of retail space, a 2,325 sq m supermarket, up to 7,500 sq m of employment space and public open space.

The part of the site in West Oxfordshire was once considered for 180 homes, as part of the 2011 draft Local Plan, but was eventually rejected after a planning inspector said it was “excessive” development.

In the current draft Local Plan, it was identified as a potential site.

Sharone Parnes, of Lewisfield Way in Woodstock, said residents had been shocked by the proposals.

He said: “The public will be alarmed to see this kind of development.

“This development is approximately the size of Woodstock so it’s doubling the size. It would extend Woodstock towards Kidlington and Bladon, and physically link with Cherwell territory.”

West Oxfordshire District Council cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, Warwick Robinson, said: “It’s ambitious, challenging and unexpected.”

The estate, which has also earmarked land in Long Hanborough for 360 homes, has said it could help solve the county’s housing problem by offering land to developers.

About 100,000 homes need to be built in Oxfordshire by 2031, according to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

Blenheim Palace estate spokesman Daniel Hayman said: “At the moment we are looking at the complexities of such a development.

“The proposals could mean up to 1,500 homes over about 20 years, ensuring that with housing comes supporting infrastructure, including planned transport improvements in the area.”

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