A DEVELOPER has been accused of 'raising two fingers to the planning system' after the latest complaints about its 76 home site.

Bellway has applied to increase the height of two properties on its Shepherds Walk development in North Leigh, near Witney, but neighbours say builders have already made the changes without permission.

A separate application to cut the number of affordable homes on the site is currently being considered, with dozens of residents unhappy with the plans.

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Builders were also criticised last winter for spreading dust over nearby roads and the latest issue has left Harry St John, district councillor for North Leigh, increasingly frustrated.

He said: "Their approach to this does seem cavalier in the extreme and it seeks to undermine the very principles of the planning system which we are all bound by.

"It's just raising two fingers to the planning system. They're taking liberties at every corner."

Mr St John was contacted by residents on Perrott Close, which borders the eastern edge of the site, earlier this month.

They feared the two homes on Shepherds Walk had been built above the agreed height, with West Oxfordshire District Council's planning team visiting the site to investigate.

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Mr St John claims the ridge height is 70cm too high and emailed Bellway, but the developer has not responded and builders have now tiled both roofs.

The amended plans have not yet been approved and the councillor is set to meet the team on site today to convey residents' concerns.

He said: "One of the key factors of the application was the prominence of the site.

"It's on a high part of the village and you can see it from over a mile away."

Bellway was previously slammed for 'making a mockery' of planning rules with its attempt to reduce the number of affordable homes from 38 to 30.

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Several objections to the plans have been posted online, while other residents have said builders are starting work before the agreed 8am start time.

A Bellway spokesperson said: "Our plans for new homes in North Leigh were approved by West Oxfordshire District Council in 2018 and we have since built a mix of homes which are in line with these plans.

"There will be no change to the ridge heights of the properties, as these are the same for both private and affordable homes."

The spokesperson said the designated working hours on Shepherds Walk was 8am to 5pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm at weekends, but builders were allowed on site from 7.30am for a 'start-up period'.