Against development

Pictured l-r: Maggie Watts,Antony Watts,Sandy Turner,Paul Turner,Amanda Leverton and Malcolm Finch
Pictured l-r: Maggie Watts,Antony Watts,Sandy Turner,Paul Turner,Amanda Leverton and Malcolm Finch

RESIDENTS in Hanwell Fields have set up a new campaign group to fight housing developments which they say could destroy vital green belt land around the estate.

The Hanwell Fields Development Action Group was launched by residents last week and has already undertaken a 1,000-home leaflet drop in a bid to raise awareness about proposals for more than 1,500 new homes to the north of Banbury.

HFDAG founder Antony Watts said: “We aim to stop development north of Dukes Meadow Drive on what we regard as green belt land that was defined when the Hanwell estate was built.

“It was made clear that this land would form the northern most limit of Banbury, to prevent urban sprawl, benefit the residents of Hanwell Fields and protect the landscape and setting of Banbury.

“Now the council is reviewing all that because of the interest of developers. They have buckled in their opinions.”

He added: “We want to get enough members to make a substantial voice in the community and we want to get these developments rescinded.”

Two recent proposals have been submitted to Cherwell District Council for sites off the Warwick Road. The first – submitted in June, is a screening opinion for 300 new homes on a greenfield site between North Oxfordshire Academy and the Drayton Leisure Golf Course. The second, submitted in July, is for 380 homes on land north of Dukes Meadow drive.

Cherwell’s lead member for planning, Michael Gibbard, confirmed the area north of Hanwell Fields has been earmarked by Cherwell District Council for future development.

He said: “The area around Hanwell Fields is identified in the council’s draft local plan and the Banbury Masterplan – both of which are emerging documents, as an area where 400 homes can be built.”

He added: “Any planning application in this area will be considered on its individual merits but will also be judged against these emerging plans.”

Plans for a 950 home development along the Southam Road – the western part of which would border Dukes Meadow Drive – are also currently on the table.

But Mr Watts is among those who believe Chewell has already approved more than enough homes to satisfy its government targets for the forseable future. He said: “The council has already approved the Bankside and Canalside sites which amounts to 2,000 potential houses, so we don’t need any more new sites, it’s just ridiculous.”