RESIDENTS are outraged at housing plans next to the former Oxford home of CS Lewis, which they fear will endanger a nature reserve said to have inspired the fantasy world of Narnia.
The Wychwood Foundation has submitted plans for nine apartments for vulnerable adults in a 2.5 storey block, including 22 car parking spaces at Wychwood Lane, Risinghurst.
The application, which lies next to the author’s former home and the CS Lewis Nature Reserve, has since received a barrage of opposition after it was revealed a new access route at Lewis Close would pass alongside the reserve.
A petition launched in the wake of the proposal, attracted more than 2,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
Cara Langford, from Cowley, who set up the petition on Tuesday, said the application if approved would destroy the unique setting.
She said: “This campaign means a great deal to me. I spent my childhood playing in this beautiful reserve and now bring my own children there to explore the wonders it holds.
“It is such a wonderful place and the road that is planned to run along it will no doubt pollute the lake, spoil this place of amazing magic and beauty, and make it unsafe for visitors.
“This area is of national and historical significance and should be preserved for generations to come.”
The petition has now gained more than 2,600 signatures.
Miss Langford, a 36-year old clinical psychologist, said that she had been ‘absolutely blown away’ by the support for her campaign. She said: “It is a magical place. Our children, our schools and people from all over the world come to visit it.
“It has such historic significance. Building an access road there would just ruin it. While their idea is commendable it just seems like it’s completely the wrong place.”
Risinghurst councillor Dee Sinclair said that she would be calling in the proposal so that councillors could fully debate its impact.
She said: “We, together with my fellow ward member are requesting that the application be heard at committee because of the level of concerns. I can understand their concerns, the potential impact on the nature reserve, and the concerns around the access road at Lewis Close.”
The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), which manages the site, said the new access road would not enter the reserve, and would not have an impact.
The Wychwood Foundation was approached by the Oxford Mail, but failed to comment by the time we went to press.