VILLAGERS have teamed up to declare “hands off Hanborough” and fight housing plans which would increase the population of their West Oxfordshire community by 50 per cent.

Consultations are under way for plans to build 362 homes on land between Long Hanborough and Freeland and for 68 homes on a plot between Long Hanborough and Church Hanborough.

More than 140 villagers have got together to create the Hands off Hanborough campaign group, saying that new homes would overload roads, the primary school and doctor’s surgery, while bridging the gap between the three neighbouring villages.

Member Andrew Elphick, 50, said: “We don’t see them as rational or sustainable.

“The roads, schools and community facilities are full and our infrastructure is already bursting, so we don’t feel mass housing development is sustainable.

“The villages have always been regarded as separate entities with independent identities but the rural gap between them is being urbanised. We will end up with a strip of land running from Woodstock to Witney.”

West Oxfordshire District Council unveiled its draft local plan for public consultation this month. It says 9,450 homes will have to be built in the district by 2029.

Pye Homes is holding a consultation for the largest of the two developments on land owned by the Blenheim Palace estate, to the west of Long Hanborough, split between north and south of the A4095 Witney Road. It is part of the estate’s review of land it owns, as it plans to sell plots to fund a £40m maintenance bill over the next two decades.

The developer said half the homes would be affordable and there would be a “strong landscaped buffer” between Long Hanborough and Freeland.

Savill’s estate agents has also consulted with residents on behalf of Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College, which owns land to the east of Church Road.

Neither company is yet to submit a planning application.

Married dad-of-two Mr Elphick, a technology consultant, said about 40 homes are currently being developed in sites off Swan Lane and Riely Close.

He said there are about 2,400 residents in the village, but this could rise by 50 per cent if both developments go ahead and another 1,000 cars could use the the A4095, A44 and A40.

Mr Elphick added: “We’re not against development per se because we realise there’s a need for housing, but the village’s contribution has to be fair.’’

Blenheim Palace estate spokesman Daniel Hayman said: “We’re reviewing the results of consultation held recently as well as engaging with local service providers such as the doctor’s surgery and headteachers.

“We are listening to residents’ feedback and looking at ways in which we can try to address concerns.”



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