VILLAGERS have demonstrated outside a science centre near where thousands of new homes could be built.

A total of 3,000 homes could be built on land west of Culham Science Centre and just north of the A415.

These homes are part of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan, a document which sets out where 28,000 homes will be built in the district by 2034.

Government-appointed planning inspector Jonathan Bore visited Culham on Wednesday to tour the Science Centre, which is planning to upgrade its own facilities.

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When he arrived, a group of residents from the village and neighbouring Clifton Hampden were there to protest the new homes at the site next door to the science centre.

The demonstrators have said they see the housing site as being out of scale with the villages to the east and west, which only number hundreds of homes.

Green Party district councillor Sam Casey-Rerhaye, who accompanied Mr Bore on the visit in her capacity as a Culham parish councillor, said: “The wishes of local voters were ignored when Secretary of State Robert Jenrick issued a legal order to force the plan through to Examination, and it appears that our local Conservative MP John Howell’s claim that substantial changes could be made at the Examination stage was unfounded.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford Green Belt land. Inset: Sam Casey-Rerhaye

Ms Casey-Rerhaye added that residents would prefer to see a smaller number of homes built on another site near the science park, which is owned by the UK government’s Atomic Energy Authority.

She said she hoped the inspector might take their views into account when he was making changes to the plan to make it ‘legally sound’.

Mr Bore also visited Chalgrove Airfield on Wednesday afternoon as part of his examination of the Local Plan.

The airfield could also be developed for housing.

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Both Culham and Chalgrove are among the seven ‘strategic sites’ where the majority of the new houses in South Oxfordshire would be built.

Six of these sites, including Culham are in Green Belt land, which usually has special protections from construction.

Only Chalgrove is not in Green Belt land, but at a series of public hearings into the site, concerns were raised about how new roads and other infrastructure would be needed.

17/08/20: This article has been updated to clarify that the new homes would be on a site adjacent to the science park, not on the science park site itself.