RESIDENTS have called for a rethink over green space planned as part of a new housing development in Headington, Oxford.

Thomas Homes won planning permission for 30 homes on the former Barton Road Cricket Ground last Wednesday.

But neighbours say an Oxford City Council policy of forcing developers to replace lost green space on the site means properties will be too close to their homes.

Ash Grove resident Francis Marshall said: “The thing that seems so absurd is that the cricket ground has been locked up for years, we are not going to miss the green space.

“But the council seems to have this idea that green space which is developed has to be replaced somewhere.

“As a result, the houses have had to be squeezed up against the boundaries of other properties.

“There was an opportunity to give everybody a bigger plot and relieve the pressure on the site. They could even have built more homes, which would mean more money for the builder and more homes for the council.”

He said the area already benefited from access to large areas of open space within easy walking distance, including Bury Knowle Park, which is 0.2 miles away.

He added: “Councillors had no answers when asked what this green space was for and perhaps more importantly who would be responsible for its upkeep.

“It seems self-evident that without a clear vision as to its function and a clear directive as to who will be responsible for it that this green space will become an overused toilet for dogs at best and at worst a rubbish dump.”

Blackthorn Close resident Fiona Livingstone has also written to Thomas Homes urging them to reconsider the plans.

She said: “This green space looks good on the plans but, in common with other local residents, I have misgivings.

“The council is requiring that nearly 20 per cent of space in this development is public and green, but is not offering to maintain it.”

The city’s east area planning committee approved plans for nine four-bedroom houses, 17 three- bedroom houses, two two-bedroom flats and three one-bedroom flats last Wednesday.

There will be also an access road, 51 parking spaces and 60 cycle parking spaces.

Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “The proposal was in the sites and housing plan so has gone through public consultation and an independent inquiry.

“Permission was granted for a mixed development with 15 of the 30 units being affordable homes and fits our guidelines for separation between buildings.”