A CAMPAIGN to save Bicester’s green spaces has been set up by people who fear the loss of their community’s “ornamental garden”.

People in Derwent Road and Dryden Avenue have launched Save Our Local Green Spaces in response to plans to build on an area of green land overlooked by their homes.

This follows residents’ concerns that the town’s green spaces were being “infilled” by development – despite its bid to become a Garden City.

Bicester Town Council backed the group’s campaign at a meeting of the planning committee on August 24.

Derwent Green Residents’ Group chairman Stephen Rand said: “The residents were shocked to discover the little green space next to our houses was up for sale.

“The group was formed to defend this particular local green space not least because it matters to those close to it, but also because I think building on that site will set a very dangerous precedent.

“It is one of the ornamental gardens that were part of the original designs – it has been used for 30 years by the public.

“Any homes built on there would completely destroy that area.”

The group has applied for the area to become an asset of community value and for local green space status, which would help to protect it from development.

Residents said the green space was one of several ornamental gardens in the area, specially created to brighten up areas around buildings.

The planning application put to Cherwell District Council is for three maisonettes to be built in a two-storey building on land in Dryden Avenue.

One of the partners of developers Ridgestone Development Ltd, Mustab Ahmed said: “We did pre-planning and a lot of these issues came up about the amenity of the land, and we made that our main focus and left half the site open to local residents.

“We understand concerns raised by local residents and we are happy to meet halfway.”

In an objection resident Stephen Price wrote: “We have lived here for 31 years looking out over the green, our children have grown up playing on the green along with all the other children here.

“New generations have moved in and their children are doing the same. We have had jubilee parties, barbecues and communal get-togethers on the green and still do.

“With all the housing estates and developments going up in Bicester an up and coming garden town, to take away small plots of green land which have – and still have – brought pleasure to local people would be a travesty.”

At the planning meeting, deputy town mayor Jolanta Lis added: “We need to protect every green space like this, we’re already building enough houses.”