Villagers near Bicester set to fight new housing plans

Villagers are preparing for a “big fight” after speculative plans for thousands of new homes on their doorstep were revealed.

Developer Bonnar Allan, on behalf of Corpus Christi College, want planning permission to build 5,000 homes in Lower Heyford, near Bicester. The housing estate would be a prime spot close to both Bicester Village and Oxford city centre.

Lower Heyford currently has about 160 homes and a train station on the Banbury to Oxford line.

Villagers are being urged to rally against the plans and stop the application being approved by Cherwell District Council.

The developer said it was in “the early stages” of promoting two large Oxfordshire sites.

The Lower Heyford proposal includes more than 5,000 new homes, two schools, a retail centre and new county park.

The second location has not been revealed, but the proposal includes 3,000 homes, a station and park and ride facility.

In a newsletter, Lower Heyford Parish Council chairman James Macnamara said: “Lower Heyford Parish Council believes that any such development will irrevocably and materially change our lives in Lower Heyford and Caulcott and the surrounding parishes to our enormous detriment.”

He said the council was setting up a group dedicated to fighting the plans and seeking support from neighbouring councils and organisations, including North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis.

People who want to support the campaign should contact the parish clerk Cathy Fleet.

Mr Macnamara said the planning application was a scheme the parish council was “determined to see fail”.

He said: “This is a big fight and we need a big and able team to fight it.”

Posting on social networking site Facebook, Lower Heyford resident Carl Mortimore said: “These speculative developers come in to our lives causing years of worry and concern for local residents while lives are put on hold fighting plans that are just not properly thought about and proposed in the most wholly inappropriate places.

“We all understand the need for homes and jobs but without some proper joined up thinking and planning this wonderful area we live in will be ruined forever…..”

The developer’s website said: “The city of Oxford has forecast a major housing shortage over the next 15 years and our plans hope to make a major contribution to meeting this need.”

Plans have not yet been submitted to planning authority Cherwell District Council.