RESIDENTS are fighting plans to build houses on ‘beautiful’ green fields that could change the ‘whole shape’ of their medieval village.

The community-run action group, 'Friends of Iffley Fields', is trying to stop the homes being built on land a stone’s throw from the village’s beloved Tree Hotel.

The 4.5 acre site has been listed for sale by an estate agent and Oxford City Council has designated some of the land between Church Way and Meadow Lane for new housing.

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However, the Friends of Iffley Fields say ‘this would lead to congestion on both these narrow winding lanes, with 100 plus cars and additional delivery vehicles.’

They also said the lane is a popular cycling and walking route.

One of the group members is renowned folk singer Peggy Seeger, who has lived in Iffley village for 10 years.

Ms Seeger, 85, told this paper: “Friends of Iffley Fields is a one-issue campaign to save the two fields and saving these two fields means saving the village.

“The field is kind of like a welcoming patch of green, there is a lot of people who come to the field, people drink it in.”

She said if the development went ahead it could ‘tear the village apart’.

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The two plots of land in question – Meadow Lane and Memorial Fields – are both owned by the historic Donnington Hospital Trust.

It is believed that the trust was founded to build alms-houses for the poor in the fourteenth century.

The land it owns on Meadow Lane and Memorial Fields was advertised as for sale in real estate Gerald Eve’s brochure.

The advertisement said more than 49 houses could be built on the plot of land.

Memorial Fields was not proposed as a development site as part of the 2036 plan.

Oxford City Council in its 2036 Local Plan shows ‘that land at Meadow Lane’, owned by Donnington Hospital Trust, is listed for ‘residential dwellings’ which would be ‘suitable for at least 29 houses.’

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The proposed plan shows a road would also need to be built between Church Way and Meadow Lane.

Rachel Falconer, 58, is also on the committee and lives on Meadow Lane, near the proposed site for development.

Ms Falconer claims that ecological damage will be caused if the site is built and she says the council survey did not look at ‘how wildlife moves between this site and other greenfield sites.”

The 2016-2036 plan said: “A biodiversity survey has found that the site does not meet the criteria for an Oxford City Wildlife Site.

“However, the biodiversity value of the site and impact of development understood, avoided, and mitigated or compensated for.”

Ms Falconer added: “I think, personally, it is a very inappropriate development, it will change the whole shape of the village that goes back to the Middle Ages if they put the new road linking it to Church Way and Meadow Lane.

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“What really surprises us was that we have had no uptake of our concerns from the owners of the land, the Donnington Hospital Trust.

“They have owned most of Iffley since the fourteenth century and since then they have been slowly selling off the land.

“Given this land was given to them in trust and the objectives of their charity is to provide relief for the distressed and those most in need, we want them to look at this space as a community resource that more people could use and we think it’s really bizarre they have not even looked at the petition.

“They just seem to want to sell it to the highest bidder, but I don’t know the ins and outs because they have been a wall of silence.”

The action group has appealed to the local city council, and said the council had ‘been very cooperative with our concerns’.

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The group has now made an open letter to the Chairman of the Donnington Hospital Trust to express their concerns about the plans to sell the remaining green fields for a ‘high-density housing development’.

They have also made an online petition that has over 4,500 signatures. East Oxford MP Anneliese Dodd’s has also written to the Donnington Trust Hospital.

Ms Dodd’s said: "After being contacted by a number of my constituents concerning the proposed development, I have passed their concerns and proposals on to the Council to ask for any advice or information they can provide."

Donnington Trust Hospital has been asked for a statement.