GARDENERS are up in arms after finding out that Blenheim Estate is seeking to build new houses on the ‘green beating heart’ of their village.

Cassington residents received a leaflet from Blenheim last week, informing them of plans to build approximately 45 houses on an allotment site.

Villagers are unhappy that they have been given until just October 12 to provide comments regarding the proposals, while there were also claims not all residents received the pamphlet.

Blenheim Palace chief executive Dominic Hare however said that a delivery report stated two pamphlets were undelivered, one because of a ‘large dog on the loose’.

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However, residents have hit back, saying the allotments are an important part of the village community.

A statement provided by the Cassington Allotment Association read: “The Cassington Allotments have been providing healthy food for families for more than 70 years.

“They create a sense of being part of the community, allowing senior citizens and families to mix and enabling the plot growers to share their experience in producing vegetables and fruit.

“This has been especially important for the mental health and wellbeing of allotment holders throughout the Covid crisis and represents a highly sustainable model of village living.

Oxford Mail:

“The allotment is the green beating heart of the village.

“The prospect of a significant housing development destroying two thirds of the allotment is crushing for people who have cultivated this land for decades.

“The housing development is not wanted by the residents of Cassington.

“Many are concerned about the impact on residents of Elms Road and the surrounding village of the additional cars that will come with the development in terms of parking and additional traffic.”

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However, Mr Hare argued the proposals carry a lot of merit.

He said: “Landowners get criticised for not consulting before applying for planning permission but this is not the case here.

“We have attended meetings, we have been discussing this opportunity for over a year, I remember talking about it at a meeting with the parish council a year ago.

“We have held a number of structured interviews with a cross-section of villagers and all of that contributed to this design brief, this consultation is simply the next stage sharing the results of what has gone before.

Oxford Mail:

“This is an exceptional opportunity to provide a number of truly affordable homes, all or almost all of this site will be Blenheim affordable housing, which will all be Passivhaus-certified eco-homes almost completely eliminating heating bills.

“We will bring in many new facilities including a central cyclepath joining that end of the village to the pavilion with the pre-school and nursery, one of the pubs and the school.”

Concerns were also raised that the site is ‘effectively a flood plain’.

Mr Hare confirmed there was ‘a problem with surface water last year which will have to be resolved whatever happens.’