ACTIVISTS from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) have had to accept the need for homes to be built in the countryside.

Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron recently said homes would need to be build on “greenfield” sites to meet the UK’s need.

But CPRE Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall said all other options should be exhausted before Britain’s fields are built upon.

She said: “Our view is that we accept there is a need for more new homes in the country, and a few might have to be on greenfield sites, but we think there’s an awful lot more that can be done before they start building on our countryside.

“Housebuilders have already got planning permission for thousands of homes, so they should start by doing that, and there’s an awful lot which could be done with empty homes, as well as brownfield sites.

“If they look at those things first they would go a long way to solving the problems.”

She added: “Whilst development always comes with the promise of infrastructure, even if it does appear often it is after the event rather than before.

“We are seeing such a scale of development, particularly in places like the Vale of White Horse, and the rural roads are not geared up to take that level of increase in traffic.

“We have already got gridlock on the A40 and I think that problem might spread elsewhere, and the county does not have a great record in terms of road traffic accidents as it is.

“We would call for more emphasis on meeting infrastructure requirements within any planning application and there should be more consideration of what needs to go in first before the rest of the development happens.”