A BUSINESSMAN has branded councillors ‘nimbys’ as he fights the overturn a refusal of his housing plans.

Harry Watts, director of the Burford Development Company, wants to build 70 homes on Cole’s Field in the town, east of Barns Lane.

The plans were refused by West Oxfordshire District Council last January, and he has launched an appeal.

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Burford town councillors said they preferred another housing plan for Shilton Road, which looks likely to be approved this month.

Half of Mr Watts's site would be affordable, which he says would house the 25 people from Burford on the district’s housing waiting list – and more besides.

The Carterton resident, a former district councillor, says he is 'determined' to help reduce the waiting list and blasted the town council for failing to back his plans.

He said: "I feel deeply ashamed that the council cannot provide the very basic commodity of a house, or an environment that rewards young people and encourages growth and opportunity for everyone."

As of Monday, 2,733 people were on the housing waiting list, 25 of which have a Burford address.

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Mr Watts says this does not paint the full picture, as it ignores the 'invisible' households of young people living with their parents because they cannot afford a home.

He added: "They don't register because they know they've got no chance of living in Burford. If we can't provide these houses for our children then god help us."

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Hundreds of objections were submitted against the Cole's Field development, which lies within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It was deemed unsuitable for the AONB as it would 'encroach unacceptably into agricultural land', 'would not easily assimilate into its surroundings' and 'would be highly prominent and visible in a number of public views'.

Several objections have been received since the appeal, with one saying the site destroyed 'a shrinking area of open space'.

Mr Watts has directed his ire at town and district councillor Derek Cotterill and the mayor, John White, even lodging a complaint against the former.

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He alleged Mr Cotterill had a 'pecuniary' interest in the Shilton Road site as a trustee of the Burford School Foundation, which has seen him involved in the development of the school's field along Shilton Road.

While this could be deemed a prejudicial interest, Mr Cotterill insisted this has always been declared and has taken no part in planning decisions regarding the site.

Allegations were made to the district council's monitoring officer and the police, but both were refuted.

Up to 91 homes could be built on Shilton Road, 50 per cent of which are affordable, despite initial plans receiving hundreds of objections before a successful appeal.

Mr White, said: "The need for affordable housing in Burford is more than adequately met by the 45 affordable homes to be built on the site in Shilton Road opposite the Garden Centre.

"The town council always supported the application to develop the Shilton Road site for this very reason."

Mr Cotterill added: "Our record for providing affordable housing in a town with a population of 1,300 is good."