BUILDING 4,000 homes on the Oxford's Green Belt will put an 'intolerable' strain on the road network but alternative sites could make congestion even worse, a Government agency has warned.

Cherwell District Council is set to approve proposals for 4,400 homes north of the city - to accommodate Oxford's unmet need - when it meets on Monday, despite receiving more than 1,500 objections during a consultation.

The intervention of Highways England, backed up by objections from Oxfordshire County Council, has led to a number of transport improvements being upgraded to 'critical'.

That includes a cycling super highway from Kidlington to Oxford Parkway and onto Oxford City Centre, which could cost up to £5m.

Other priorities are a four bus per hour service between Oxford and Begbroke and bus lane improvements on roads leading to the villages.

But a new rail station between Kidlington and Begbroke is still only a 'long term aspiration', according to Cherwell's list of changes.

Campaigners said the infrastructure improvements were 'imaginary' and 'unfunded' and plan to stage a protest outside the council offices ahead of the crunch meeting.

Villagers from Kidlington, Yarnton and Begbroke will board ‘battle buses’ and gather to convince councillors to defer or scrap the plans.

Chairman of Begbroke and Yarnton Green Belt campaign, Giles Lewis said: "Despite the unprecedented response against these plans, Cherwell remains unswerving in its determination to destroy the Green Belt north of Oxford.

"It is clear the proposed plans are premature, even if implemented, they will fail to meet its many objectives, with genuinely affordable housing not being provided, nor the frankly imaginary infrastructure improvements that are totally unfunded."

Highways England said the new homes could have an 'intolerable' impact on the A34/A44 Peartree Interchange and warned the M40 junction 9 and A34/Oxford Road junction could also be affected - calling for a formal impact assessment to be undertaken.

But it said that if the homes were not built on Green Belt land, and built elsewhere, the road network would suffer an 'even greater' impact.

Oxfordshire County Council - the county's transport authority - supported the plans but said 'high levels of congestion in north Oxford needed to be remedied'.

Mr Lewis has called for the proposals to be postponed until Oxford City Council finalised whether or not it could meet its housing need as part of its Local Plan,which is due next year.

The county's Growth Board has negotiated a deal which would provide £150m for infrastructure in exchange for committing to 100,000 homes.

Further funding could also be secured from a £3.2bn Government housing infrastructure pot.

When it comes to housing numbers, the only change made sees 90 fewer homes built west of the A44 near Yarnton and 90 more built on the edge of Woodstock - the only site outside the Green Belt.

Councillors have been recommended to sign off the proposals on Monday, opening up all the allocated sites for housing.

The plans - to help Oxford’s unmet need - would see a 1,950-home community built east of the A44 at Begbroke and 1,180 homes north of Oxford between Cutteslowe and the A34, including North Oxford Golf Club.

A further 440 homes are planned west of the A44 near Yarnton, with 330 more on the south and east boundaries of Kidlington and 500 on the edge of Woodstock.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) will also be at the protest.

Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall said: “It would be reckless and irresponsible for councillors to agree to unless they were sure they were needed and Oxford could not accommodate them.

“CPRE can show that Oxford could accommodate most if not all of its stated housing need by prioritising land for housing rather than more job creation, and building at the higher densities appropriate to cities.”

Members of North Oxford Golf Club have set up a group - Greenway Oxon - to save the 110-year-old course and will also join the protests.

David Young, a long time member, said: "The area between Kidlington and Oxford is arguably the most important part of the Oxford Green Belt.

"If more housing is built in the area, recreation facilities must surely become more, not less, important, so why on earth destroy one that is already there."

Communication executive at Cherwell District Council, Tom Slingsby, said: "The Local Plan contains a requirement to complete a Partial Review as a contribution to meeting the unmet housing need of Oxford.

"That review has been a staged process over two years, with extensive public consultation and the consideration of 47 submitted sites.

"The seven proposed sites are the ones which have been identified as best meeting Oxford's needs."

A decision is expected to be made at Bodicote House, Banbury on Monday at 6.30pm.