Campaigners are “very pleased” that unmarked graves in Littlemore will not be built on.

New site plans for the 270-home development in Armstrong Road show consecrated ground at the edge of the development will not form part of the back gardens of the proposed houses.

It was previously feared the graveyard beside the Littlemore Hospital site would form a significant part of the development that was proposed by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

But after protests from residents and councillors, the trust has modified its plans to clarify that no graves will be built on.

A small number will be within the boundaries of the development but will not be part of any houses or gardens. They will be within open ground.

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Littlemore Parish Council vice-chairman David Henwood said: “I am very pleased that the trust has listened and taken on board what we have asked for.

“I do not think we could have asked for much more than that.

“I think it is a case of community action working.

“We have met the trust and I think both sides have come together and discussed it and they have met us halfway and we have met them halfway. It would still be nice if they were to put up some kind of memorial for the graves.

“In the history books they will still be there and I think locally we will know about them but in a few generations’ time it would be nice to have some permanent reminder that they are there.”

An archaeological assessment was carried out as part of the application at the end of last year and found 545 burials in the consecrated ground.

It is believed up to 1,800 bodies were buried at the site but those buried before 1883 were moved to St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Littlemore at some point.

Those buried in the graves were patients at what was then known as Littlemore Hospital and many of the bodies lie in a piece of land that is adjacent to the development but not part of it.

Mr Henwood said: “My fear would be there is potential for a future developer to link the two sites together and that would affect the graves on the other piece of land.

“That would be a disaster.”

In a summary of changes to the development submitted to planning authority Oxford City Council, planing consultancy Carter Jonas, acting on behalf of the trust, clarified the graves would not be built on.

The statement said: “An archaeology report confirms that development should be avoided from the burial ground located on the eastern edge of the site.

“However, for the avoidance of doubt, the illustrative masterplan has been amended to avoid any built form or private garden space from overlapping on to the burial ground.”