HEADINGTON residents have been celebrating after a planning inspector emphatically ruled Ruskin Fields should not be developed.

Ruskin College, based in Old Headington, was trying to build 150 homes on the land and hoped to have it included in one of Oxford City Council’s documents earmarking sites for development.

But now Dr Shelagh Bussey has ruled that the land should not be included in either the Barton Area Action Plan, which sets out plans to build about 900 homes in north east Oxford, or the city’s sites and housing development plan.

Veronica Hurst, pictured, who is a member of the Friends of Old Headington and lives in Stoke Place near the fields, said: “We were very pleased to see the case against building on this centuries-old pasture land validated in this way.

“We worked hard over many months to demonstrate that development, no matter how sensitively designed, would inevitably have an adverse impact on the distinctive character of the Old Headington conservation area.”

Audrey Mullender, the principal of Ruskin College, said: “Obviously we are disappointed but we feel it was a very thorough and fair process and we respect the inspector’s decision. There are no other plans for the site and there is no avenue of appeal for us. We are still digesting the decision but we remain acutely aware of the housing need in Oxford.”