5:00am Thursday 3rd April 2014
By Katriona Ormiston
RESIDENTS are putting together a legal fighting fund to oppose plans that would increase the number of homes in Cumnor by 50 per cent.
They want to raise £2,500 for legal advice to fight council plans proposing 200 homes on Green Belt land south of the village, which has 400 homes.
Land off Appleton Road is in Vale of White Horse District Council’s draft local plan on where future district estates should go, some 20,500 homes.
A public consultation on the plan – to remain in force until 2031 – closes tomorrow.
The Campaign to Save Cumnor’s Green Belt has been launched with the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
More than 100 residents packed the United Reformed Church Hall in Leys Road on Monday night to raise concerns.
Resident of 32 years Judy Sissons, 60, said: “It would completely change Cumnor from being a rural village.
“Cumnor is quite unusual because it has managed to stay a village so close to Oxford.
“Where they want to build is where people take their dogs for walks and go blackberry picking, it is a beautiful part of Oxfordshire.”
The Appleton Road resident echoed concerns from others that Cumnor Primary School is full.
Matthew Hall, 55, of Appleton Road, said: “It is Green Belt land for a reason and they are proposing just to ignore it.
“If they can build there then nowhere is safe, and that is a major concern.
“Cumnor could then join onto Botley and onto Farmoor – it could develop a large urban sprawl which is just what the Green Belt is there to prevent.”
The meeting was called by Cumnor Parish Council and chairman Brian Stops said: “We think it would be very damaging to Cumnor and the life and structure of the village. Most of it is Green Belt land – we have to take special care of it, not build on it and develop it.
“It protects the countryside and the agricultural activity that goes with it. People are very concerned.”
The parish is to send its formal objection to the district council tomorrow.
All councils are obliged to draw up a local plan to meet demand and ensure estates are not built in a co-ordinated and not piecemeal fashion.
It includes 5,500 homes in Didcot and Harwell, 610 in Abingdon and 1,730 in villages near Abingdon and throughout the district.
Another 1,720 are planned for Oxford Green Belt in villages like Kennington, Cumnor and Radley.
To comment by 4pm tomorrow visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ localplanpartone. To contact the campaign, see firstname.lastname@example.org.
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