Sir - We, local healthcare professionals who have worked in the NHS for many years, urge Oxford city planners and the NHS to protect Warneford Meadow from development.

The meadow is a rare wildlife haven in the heart of urbanised East Oxford, essential to both mental and physical health. Warneford Meadow was originally purchased by Warneford Hospital in the early 20th century, as a safe and tranquil place to enable people with mental health problems to recover their peace of mind.

At a recent public meeting organised by Friends of Warneford Meadow, a patient spoke movingly about how contact with the Meadow's tranquillity was a major factor in her recovery from mental illness.

There is now abundant medical evidence that green spaces help people deal with depression, anxiety and stress and even recovery from more serious mental health problems. Unfortunately it can take many years before sound research evidence is translated into good clinical practice and planning policies.

Please do not allow the development of Warneford Meadow. We have little doubt that we will all be in increasing need of green asylums in years to come. The whole community would feel the loss of this valuable therapeutic resource to the relentless pace of urbanisation, itself a prime cause of mental illness.

Dr Sietske Boeles, Dr Andrew Fry, Dr Fran Reichenberg, Miss Aureola Tong, Dr Diana Sanders, Dr Valeria Frighi Oxford