RESIDENTS of a picturesque village are up in arms over plans to build a new business centre and car park – by the National Trust.

Villagers in beautiful Buscot near Faringdon say the charity's plans would increase the flood risk and the extra traffic would make village roads 'perilous'.

Now they have started a campaign to 'Save Buscot' from the National Trust's proposals – despite the fact the charity actually owns much of the historic village.

Read also: Caravan-dweller escapes death after enormous tree destroys her home during Storm Ciara

Trust officers presented their plans to convert Lock Farm Barn into offices at a public consultation event last Thursday.

The charity announced it was applying to Vale of the White Horse District Council for permission to build eight business units and a car park for 24 vehicles.

Read again: Backlash against National Trust for allowing fox hunts to use Buscot & Coleshill Estate - despite 'evidence' of illegal fox killing

Oxford Mail:

Residents quickly objected, arguing the area around Lock Farm Barn is prone to flooding every year during heavy rain.

The Save Buscot campaign group said: "The development could increase the risk of flooding.

Read also: Latest court results for Oxfordshire

“There is contamination in the bed of the Cut – the water channel which provides a habitat for ducks and wildlife enjoyed by walkers.

“When this is disturbed it causes a bad smell.”

Oxford Mail:

A new road running across the Church field next to Lock Farm Barn and joining the single track Church Drive to the A417 is also part of the plan.

However, villagers argued that Church Drive turns into a ‘dangerous’ section on the A417, where vehicles speed up to overtake.

The campaign group explained: “It already is difficult for cars to pass on to Church Drive.

“Directing traffic there will create a road hazard on the A417 as vehicles wait to turn in and access will become perilous.”

Oxford Mail:

Responding to the concerns, the National Trust said that the reason it wanted to build the offices was to rent them out because, it said, it needed more money to carry out conservation work on the Buscot Estate – the stately home and parklands around which the village of Buscot is built.

General manager at Buscot and Coleshill Estates Christian Walker said: “The National Trust receives no revenue from Government and relies on the support of the public and commercial income to look after the heritage and open spaces in its care.

Read also: Jeremy Clarkson slams wild swimming – and says he prefers Chipping Norton lido

“The planned self-contained development would operate in office hours. The exterior of the barn buildings would remain largely unchanged with no plans for increasing the number of openings in the fabric of the building and with the same wall and roof coverings.”

He added that, as part of the scheme, a well-draining gravel car park is planned along with more than 500 metres of new hedging and native tree planting.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Walker also claimed that Buscot locals who attended the public consultation were supportive of the proposed scheme.

The National Trust is still consulting with residents about the plans and is expected to make an official planning application to Vale of the White Horse District Council soon.

The Save Buscot group advised like-minded individuals: “If you want to preserve the amenity and rural character of Buscot and do not want suburbanisation of this tranquil riverside habitat, please object to:”