City overspill to go on Cherwell green belt despite protests

Protestors outside Bodicote House ahead of a meeting discussing plans to build on the green belt near Kidlington and Yarnton. Photo: Kevin James Bezant
Protestors outside Bodicote House ahead of a meeting discussing plans to build on the green belt near Kidlington and Yarnton. Photo: Kevin James Bezant

Protesters cried ‘traitors’ as thousands of homes meant for Oxford could be built on green belt land to the south of Cherwell district last night (Monday, February 26).

Cherwell District Council agreed by 26 votes to 17 to send the proposals to the planning inspectorate at a heated meeting at Bodicote House.

The homes form part of Oxford’s housing allocation which its council says it cannot meet, meaning the surrounding districts have had to take a share, with Cherwell given 4,400 to locate.

Officers decided they should go close to Oxford and not around Banbury or Bicester, but residents were up in arms over plans to build on a golf course and the green belt in an area near Kidlington and Yarnton.

Nearly 1,500 objections were made and a protest formed outside the council headquarters before the meeting, with chants of ‘stop Oxford sprawl’.

Cllr Colin Clarke said ‘only three per cent’ of Cherwell’s green belt would be built on and councillors must back the plan or risk losing control of housing development.

Protestors outside Bodicote House ahead of a meeting discussing plans to build on the green belt near Kidlington and Yarnton. Photo: Kevin James Bezant

Protestors outside Bodicote House ahead of a meeting discussing plans to build on the green belt near Kidlington and Yarnton. Photo: Kevin James Bezant

“I acknowledge the fact it’s a very controversial plan but it’s something that we have got to and are obliged to do, we have no choice,” he said.

Campaigners, parish councillors and Oxford West MP Layla Moran pleaded for the council to reconsider.

Campaign to Protect Rural England Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall said on Tuesday: “We firmly believe that the decision made last night is bad news not just for residents living in south Cherwell, but also for the residents of Oxford who are desperate for truly affordable houses to be built in the city.”

Protestors outside Bodicote House ahead of a meeting discussing plans to build on the green belt near Kidlington and Yarnton. Photo: Kevin James Bezant

Protestors outside Bodicote House ahead of a meeting discussing plans to build on the green belt near Kidlington and Yarnton. Photo: Kevin James Bezant