CONCERNED residents in Barton have been warned to remain vigilant against proposals for almost 2,000 homes on their doorstep.

At a meeting on Tuesday night, they were told that even if South Oxfordshire District Council chose not to go ahead with the proposal this time it would reconsider the site ‘every five years’.

Residents say building 1,850 homes at the site off Bayswater Road – on the edge of Oxford – would cause traffic chaos and mean the loss of open countryside.

The district council chose not to support plans for 1,850 homes there in the draft version of its next Local Plan, instead supporting major developments at Culham and Chalgrove.

But speaking to some 50 people in the Barton Neighbourhood Centre, district councillor John Walsh said: “It has not been included in this version of the Local Plan... But I must warn you, you will have to come back every five years whenever this gets looked at again and make the same points.”

Landowners, including Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, have said the development would help tackle the city’s housing shortage. Mr Aubrey-Fletcher also said half of the homes would be ‘affordable’ and suggested it could include housing for staff at the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals in Headington.

But residents at the meeting in Barton questioned whether it would be ‘genuinely affordable’.

Giving a presentation, former Barton resident Bruce Ross-Smith said: “Even at a discount of 80 per cent of Oxford prices, the most modest homes are going to be beyond the reach of people on middle or low incomes.

“It does not need to be done here and why should it be? It is a nonsense. If these green fields are built on Barton will be hemmed in by housing.”

Lisa Buchan, from Elsfield, has been campaigning against the plan. She said: “This proposal would undermine the character of Barton and the community.”

During a question session, the audience expressed anger at the proposals.

One woman said: “The people who move here are going to commuters going to London, not residents.”

And a man in the audience said: “No one has talked to us properly about this.”

Helen Marshall, from the Oxfordshire Campaign to Protect Rural England, said people should write to South Oxfordshire District Council to oppose any development on the Green Belt.

She said: “There are proposals like this elsewhere and we need to defend the Green Belt as a whole.”

Last night Mr Aubrey-Fletcher said: “We look forward to consulting with the local community. If the district council was to support any development at Wick Farm it would clearly need to mitigate any loss of Green Belt land and open space.

“We also remain committed to providing truly affordable housing. And any development would have to ensure appropriate road improvements are delivered.”