PLANS to build over graves at a Headington church are to be reconsidered after the parish withdrew its application.

Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, where Narnia author CS Lewis is buried, temporarily withdrew its application to extend its north elevation last week.

It is the second time the church has withdrawn plans to build over graves to extend the church.

An initial plan in 2012, proposed building over 15 graves, was dropped last year in favour of a more modest extension affecting two plots in the churchyard.

Both attracted vehement opposition from members of the congregation and Headington Quarry residents.

Campaigner 71-year-old Jenny Carpenter established the Holy Trinity Church Preservation Group in protest, urging residents to write to the parish and the diocese to stop what she called “a lack of respect for the dead”.

Holy Trinity Church vicar, the Rev Tim Stead, said: “When we submitted the application in the first instance we had a lot of comments from planning officers.

“They advised us that it would be wise to withdraw it and refine our plan for the extension.”

Mr Stead said there were numerous issues with the proposals, but building over graves was not one of them.”

While the plans were under consideration, the Holy Trinity Church Preservation Group appealed to people to write comments against the plan on the Oxford City Council website.

Mr Stead said the Diocese of Oxford had to decide whether to give permission for the church to build over graves, but this would not happen for a long time.

The predicted cost of the extension, which includes a creche, disabled toilet and meeting area, is £400,000.

Church spokesman Mike Stranks said a description in the Oxford Mail about a similar scheme in Littlemore that the plans had been scrapped was incorrect because the application had only been temporarily withdrawn.