CUMNOR residents have raised concerns over plans to remove land from its Green Belt despite a decision to axe plans for 200 homes.

Vale of White Horse District Council first proposed removing land off Appleton Road from the protected Green Belt and allow 200 homes there.

It has dropped the housing but still proposes to take the land out of the Green Belt as part of its “local plan” of where estates will be built by 2031.

Appleton Road resident Judy Sissons, 60, who campaigned against the original plans, said: “There’s been lots of happy emails sent back and forth. We are obviously happy the land appears to be safe.

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“But it shouldn’t be removed from the Green Belt and we’re not quite sure what this will mean in the long-term.”

Dudley Hoddinott, a councillor for Cumnor and Appleton, said: “I’m temporarily relieved the site is no longer proposed as one of the first to be built on but concerned it could be identified as one later on.

“Cumnor is a picturesque village that people want to come to and doubling its size would change it dramatically.

“The danger is developers will say ‘hang on, this isn’t on the green belt, let’s build here’. It should be protected.”

The council is consulting on part one of the local plan, for major estates of 200 homes or more. But there are concerns it could return for part two, which will examine where smaller sites of up to 200 homes should go.

Debby Hallett, a Liberal Democrat councillor for North Hinksey and Wytham, said the removal from part one was “good news”.

She said: “But Tories still plan to bring that site out of the Green Belt, which makes it available for housing development, just not for the 200 or more houses required by ‘strategic sites’.

“I'm against this piecemeal nibbling away at the Green Belt. I think we need a coordinated review with all neighbouring authorities working together.”

District council spokesman Andy Roberts said: “After our consultation earlier this year we have removed eight of the proposed sites, including the one at Cumnor South, for a variety of reasons.

“Cumnor South was removed because the site would have exceeded the recommended capacity for homes for that location and caused unacceptable harm to the character of the landscape.”

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