VILLAGERS have forged a campaign to oppose a 'juggernaut of development'.

Residents have taken a step forward in their fight against a new town in protected countryside in Culham.

Save Culham's Green Belt has been set up to oppose plans for 3,500 homes in the village near Abingdon.

The group's chairwoman Caroline Baird said the development would dwarf the village, which had a population of 453 in the 2011 census.

She said: "This would effectively make a ribbon development between Clifton Hampden and Culham, merging the villages.

"Our job in the group is to get the message to as many people as possible."

South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) unveiled the 3,500 homes plan in its draft local plan, which sets out a blueprint for development in the coming years.

The site lies in the Green Belt between Abingdon Road and the River Thames.

A message on the Culham group's website said: "It is our duty as 'caretakers' to protect this green and pleasant land for the future, our children and our children's children.

"Please join our campaign and help us stop the juggernaut of development."

Henley MP John Howell, whose constituency covers Culham, has expressed support for their cause.

The district council's plan favoured Culham partly because of its proximity to Culham Science Centre and Culham railway station.

SODC spokeswoman Emma East said: "Land near Culham is one of our preferred sites for housing because it is adjacent to large employers at the heart of an area of major investment for science and technology, and benefits from good transport links."

But Mrs Baird feared the housing would see the village become a dormitory settlement for commuters.

The Culham artist said: "They are using the argument there is a train station, and people will be able to get the train to work in Oxford.

"But these homes will be advertised as being 40 minutes from London."

She insisted there are alternative sites suitable for housing, outside of the Green Belt.

SODC will consider responses to consultation on the local plan –submitted earlier this year – before a final version is published at the end of this year.

Residents will then be asked for opinions again.

To learn more about the campaign or register for updates, visit