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RESIDENTS in Littlemore are worried over what they say is a threat to graves from plans to build 270 homes on land off Armstrong Road.

Artists’ impressions of the scheme are on display for the public to view at Littlemore Village Hall as part of a consultation, but Oxford city councillor for Cowley, David Henwood, said the development could put pressure on local services.

He said: “I think it will have an adverse impact. We have lost three schools to housing developments in recent years.

“Residents on our Facebook page have asked me to develop a petition against it but we are not at that stage at the moment.

“It is better to work with the developer for something more suitable for the area. There is a critical housing shortage in Oxfordshire.

“The city council are doing an excellent job of introducing new developments across the city.

“However, developing a community requires further infrastructure of schools, places of worship, shops, businesses, medical and dental needs, along with recreational and leisure needs. We are not against the introduction of more housing in Littlemore, but development of our social needs also needs to be taken into consideration.”

The land is owned by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and the plans have been drawn up in conjunction with property and infrastructure business Capita.

The proposals would see 40 one-bedroom houses, 82 two-bedroom houses, 108 three-bedroom houses and 40 four-bedroom houses built.

Cllr Henwood said he understood 50 per cent would be social housing.

Littlemore resident Maggie Wallis said there were concerns over bodies buried on the land, which is next to Littlemore Hospital.

She said: “That was the case for many years and at the history centre in Cowley there is a complete volume which has the names of all the people buried there.

“I want respect to be given to the fact it is a burial ground.

“They have had an archaeologist out on the site already and they are aware of a burial ground, but not exactly where.”

Cllr Henwood, who is also a member of Littlemore Parish Council, said: “We want to help find out where the bodies are buried to help the developers so they can respect the site.

Parish council chairwoman Anne Mogridge expressed concerned about the size of the plans.

She said: “Personally I think it is a big development. The schools are full in the area, there are no more schools being built, there is no infrastructure in place, the nursery is full to the brim.

“It hasn’t even gone to planning yet but I think it is a huge number of homes and there is too much over-development.”

Mark Trumper, director of commercial and the estate at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The trust held a public consultation in Littlemore Village Hall on August 14, on a proposed residential scheme for a parcel of land that transferred into its ownership from the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in 2012.

“Proceeds from the sale of the site will be reinvested into the provision of healthcare services and facilities in Oxford.

“It is not known at this stage, what the anticipated receipts would be.

“The consultation went well, with support from the local community. Responses will be colle-cted by August 29 and reviewed. The findings will be incorporated into the further development of the masterplan, and an outline planning application will be submitted in due course.”

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