FEWER than half of the 100,000 new homes proposed for Oxfordshire over the next 15 years are needed to meet local demand, according to a new report.

Research commissioned by campaign group Need Not Greed claims the figure agreed by councils was based on "a dash for jobs and growth at all costs" despite nearly full employment in the county, with just 0.4 per cent of working age people claiming jobseekers allowance.

Professor Alan Wenban-Smith, the report's author and a planning consultant who has advised the Government, said the homes figure was based on plans to create 85,600 jobs and a belief that Oxford was "big enough to support a nationally-significant scale of high-tech industry".

But he warned this would place stress on road capacity and further inflate house prices, which would be "extremely insensitive" to housebuilding and force local firms to pay higher wages that would stifle their growth.

He added: "It is quite doubtful whether the Oxford potential is so significant at a national level to justify over-riding all other considerations.

"It might make a great deal more sense to build up the technology transfer between places like Oxford and larger centres of population where the labour market, infrastructure and services exist."

Professor Wenban-Smith's report said just 47,000 new homes were needed in Oxfordshire between 2011 and 2031.

This was instead of the 100,000 homes a strategic housing market assessment (SHMA), commissioned by councils and published in 2014, said would be needed in the same period.

He said the difference was down to his use of more recent household projections from the Department for Communities and Local Government, his exclusion of "policies aimed at achieving faster economic growth than in the past" and "double-counting" used to increase numbers of affordable homes.

But the findings were rejected by Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, as "a nonsense". He said employment had been expected to increase by one per cent a year but had actually done so by two per cent.

He Price told The Oxford Times: "The housing figures produced by the SHMA were highly fought-over and what we ended up with were by no means the biggest numbers.

"If you look at employment and economic growth since 2011, it has actually been double the maximum that was predicted.

"It is a nonsense position to say the SHMA figures are wrong. Oxfordshire is where these businesses and the universities are and that science base is continuing to grow at a great rate.

"We know from previous governments that just transplanting bits of industry from one area to another does not work. Economic growth is based on clusters of activity from companies and research institutions."

Professor Wenban-Smith's report emerged as Need Not Greed – an umbrella organisation of 30 campaign groups – prepares to ramp up attacks on the "strategic economic plan" produced by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Campaigners are demanding that growth targets within the document – partly behind estimates for how much housing is needed across the county – should also be subject to consultation.

The LEP is set to consult on the revised strategic economic plan from April 21 to May 20.

Colin Thomas, of Sunningwell Parishioners Against Damage to the Environment, said: "These speculative jobs may or may not appear but London commuters certainly will.

"We are sacrificing our countryside and putting our services and infrastructure under immense pressure without meeting the real need."

Helen Marshall, director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England's Oxfordshire branch, added: "There should be an open public debate about the level of additional growth our councils have signed up to, and the impact this may have on the county."

Their comments came after Woodstock Town Council, one of many authority's concerned about development across the county, renewed its opposition to plans for the Woodstock East proposals, put forward by Pye Homes and the Blenheim Estate.

The developers first put forward plans for a 1,500-home scheme on land south of Shipton Road, before reducing the number to 1,200. In fresh plans revealed in the past few weeks, they have now reduced the number again to 280 homes.

But speaking at a meeting on Tuesday night, town councillor Brian Yoxall said: "We should never take our good fortune of a wonderful heritage for granted –it is something to be treasured and guarded with every ounce of energy at our disposal.

"I would like to pay tribute to all those who lent their weight to the campaign to oppose the plans to invade the green fields at Woodstock East last year.

"But it looks like all we have to do is do it all over again."

A spokesman for the developers said last month that the scheme would deliver "much needed new housing in Woodstock and throughout Oxfordshire".