MORE than 400 residents in Woodstock turned out to vote for nearby fields to be protected from a controversial development of 1,500 homes.

Townspeople last month demanded a poll to try and protect agricultural land of the south east of Woodstock from 'urban sprawl'.

And on Thursday this week 411 people voted to protect it while 73 people said they did not want it saved from new homes.

Town councillor Sharone Parnes said of the result: "I'm very pleased that the people of Woodstock had the opportunity to consider their position on this.

"It's useful to see what people are thinking. It was an inspirational exercise for the community; from the point of the town meeting when they demanded the poll and the way the District Council conducted it with real energy."

Blenheim Estate, which owns the land proposed for development in Woodstock, and Pye Homes have joined together to work on plans for a development of up to 1,500 homes.

Initial plans were refused by West Oxfordshire District Council and Cherwell District Council last September.

But in February this year, the same developers sent out a leaflet to all residents about building 280 homes on a smaller site, which they called Land South East of Woodstock.

The poll was held at the Town Hall and was set up by West Oxfordshire District Council after residents urged officials to help.

A total of 2,542 ballot papers were issued for the poll with a 484 turnout, equalling 19.04 per cent.

Mr Parnes went on to say the poll meant the district councillors would be able to clearly see residents' views on the controversial development, when it came through the planning committee.