HOUSING plans that could have doubled the size of Woodstock  have been refused by councillors today.

Councillors had recieved about 800 objections to the plans for up to 1,200 homes in the town.

Those against described the plans - which also included a new primary school, a care village and a football ground on land east of Woodstock - as disproportionate and as inappropriate addition to the town.

Cherwell District Council has followed in the steps of West Oxfordshire District Council on refusing the "substantial" development on land, which covers both districts and is owned by the Blenheim Palace Estate.

Many councillors were concerned that it would create another town separate to Woodstock and would harm the heritage site.

Original plans for the site had seen up to 1,500 homes proposed for the area.

Cherwell District Councillor George Reynolds said: "Yes, this is a big development but if you look around Cherwell there is Upper Heyford looking to have about 2,000 or 3,000 homes added and Bicester itself looking to double in size over next 20 years. Everybody has got to expect there will be building.

"It may be premature but inevitably Cherwell will have to take some of that overspill from Oxford.

"I am prepared to vote against this on policy reasons of the local plan, I am not so happy on the affect on the heritage aspect."

Planning officers said that 844 objections were received and the decision for refusal came down to the balance between "whether the potential £43m income for the world heritage site outweighs the catalogue of problems".

There are currently about 1,300 homes in Woodstock and the plans would have taken it to about 2,500.

Speaking in support of plans was Woodstock Town Football Club - which would have had a new ground in plans. the club said said that it would secure the future of the club and felt many residents do support the plans.

It is not yet known if developers Pye Homes will appeal the decision.