ANGRY villagers north of the city came out in force to oppose plans for thousands of homes between Oxford and Kidlington.

Hundreds from people from Yarnton and Begbroke made their feelings known at protest meetings in the villages last week, with a huge queue to get into the meeting at Yarnton Village Hall.

Cherwell District Council wants to build 3,990 homes on Green Belt land north of Oxford, with about 2,500 of those on land near the two villages.

The homes would contribute towards housing needed in Oxford but which Oxford City Council says it can’t build inside the city.

Chairman of the Begbroke and Yarnton Green Belt campaign, Giles Lewis, said: “If these plans go ahead, the villages of Begbroke, Kidlington and Yarnton will be merged to form a suburb to the north of the city approaching 25,000 residents.

“It will sit outside the northern ring road, jamming up traffic, polluting the atmosphere and further stressing our medical services.

“The ultimate irony is that a significant number of the new population will simply commute to London from Oxford Parkway station.”

But district council leader Barry Wood said the new developments had to be close to Oxford and near transport links.

He said: “We are of the view the development must be provided so that it is well connected to Oxford and supports the city’s economy, universities and local employment bases.”

On top of Cherwell’s plan for 3,990 homes in the protected land, Oxford City Council’s local plan – launched for consultation earlier this month – revealed eight more Green Belt sites in the city could be built on.

Fellow campaign member Heddwen Hewis, who lives in Kidlington, said: “The alleged housing crisis is claimed as a reason to overturn decades of Green Belt protection, but Oxford seems to be prioritising commercial building over housing in its own back yard.”

City Council board member for planning, Alex Hollingsworth, said a balanced approach to deliver homes and jobs was needed.

The council added that just two per cent of the designated Green Belt within the city could be released but only after a ‘robust’ process of examination.

Public exhibitions on the plans are to be held, starting tomorrow in Shipton-on-Cherwell Village Hall from 4pm to 8pm.