FRUSTRATED campaigners fear Bicester is edging closer to becoming a 'warehouse town' after another industrial park got approval.

Derwent Green Residents group said it was 'extremely frustrated' after being 'let down' by councillors who voted in favour of plans to build 53,000sqm of warehousing and up to 150 homes at the junction of Howes Lane and Middleton Stoney Road as part of the eco town development.

The proposal, put forward by developers Albion Land, was approved on Thursday, despite almost every Bicester councillor on the Cherwell District Council planning committee voting for refusal.

The plans, put forward in two applications, including temporary access to be built off Howes Lane, got backing from 11 councillors on the committee compared to seven against.

Derwent Green Residents Group chairman Stephen Rand said: "It is tragic and shameful that the growth of Bicester can’t be managed to protect the health and well-being of residents.

"Everyone in the group is extremely frustrated and disappointed by the decision, which will inevitably increase the already dangerous and unacceptable level of traffic on Howes Lane.

"We appreciated the efforts of the Bicester-based councillors on the committee to argue against against this application – we’re sad they were unable to persuade their colleagues to back them."

The residents' group fear the temporary access from Howes Lane to the development would put added pressure on the road, which many of their homes back on to.

The group has called for separate plans to build a new Howes Lane nearby under the railway as part of the eco-town development, to start as soon as possible.

Mr Rand added: "We understand the council planners are attempting to get plans in place for the realignment of Howes Lane as quickly as possible, but at this stage they are only hopeful that Network Rail may be able to do the work at Christmas 2019.

"So we face at least 30 months of increased traffic, increased pollution, increased danger."

Campaign for Rural England (CPRE) Bicester representative John Broad said he was appalled at the result.

He said: "We will have another four giant sheds, more than 15m high with 24 hour operations of polluting HGVs.

"Bicester will then have sheds to the north, south, east and west.

"Hi-tech employment? Eco-town? Garden town? Healthy town? No – Warehouse town."

Albion Land put its latest proposal to the council as a second bid for approval after it was refused in June 2016, following concerns over limited storage and distribution space on the site.

In a letter sent prior to the meeting, county councillors for Bicester, Michael Waine, Lawrie Stratford and Dan Sames, said the application would override the agreed commercial and employment nature of the site stated in the local plan – a document that outlines the future of development in Bicester.

It said: "Developers cannot be allowed to plan our town for us, treading roughshod over an agreed plan and local opinion.

"Bicester desperately needs balanced commercial growth and is now very much in danger of becoming a town of sprawling housing estates and large sheds."

Albion Land had lodged a planning appeal against the original refusal which was due to go before the inspector in September but pledged to drop the appeal if plans were approved.

Oxfordshire County councillor for Bicester West Les Sibley added: "The people of Bicester feel let down.

"I urged the council to defend the appeal and requirements of the local plan because what is the point in having a local plan if we allow developers to run roughshod over it

"I fear it sets a dangerous precedent."

Albion Land did not respond to a request for comment.