Design guru Wayne Hemingway is being paid by the Government to advise it how best to build a 15,000-home eco-town near Bicester.

Last night, it emerged the founder of the Red or Dead fashion label is one of 15 experts hired to form an eco-towns panel, together with TV presenters Kris Murrin and Joanna Yarrow.

It is understood that the majority of the panellists were paid £350 a day - just over £1,000 in total.

Those living close to the proposed site in Weston-on-the-Green said they were baffled - and questioned the panel's local knowledge.

The experts' have produced a series of recommendations for eco-town proposals across the UK, which includes the Weston Otmoor scheme.

The plan, on land close to the A34/M40 junction, has prompted massive opposition, with 500 residents gathering at the weekend.

Anthony Henman, a spokesman for campaign group Weston Front, said the panel's report was "fatally flawed" because members had not talked to locals or councillors.

He added: "It appears the panel have seen the developer's masterplan, but we have had no meeting with this team of people and no visit from them.

"I believe the panel has been established because the Government wants to be politically correct, but that is not good enough.

"About two pages of the panel's report refer to Weston Otmoor and indicate developers still face some pretty big hurdles, but this is incredibly superficial.

"The report touches slightly on the sustainability of Bicester, but there is no mention of Kidlington, the Green Belt issue or the sites of special scientific interest."

Other proposed eco-towns such as New Marston, south of Bedford, got poor marks from the panel, which assessed the sites' suitability for an eco-town.

But Weston Otmoor was one of a number of locations receiving a more promising verdict from panel members chosen by the Government.

John Walker, chairman of the eco-towns panel, said: "Our brief was to challenge each proposal in a robust and constructive way, and I think we have done a good job on that front.

"We want the final eco-towns to be better than the best of the current examples - clearly there is still a lot of work to do."

The panel, which is expected to hold further meetings with developers, will not be responsible for deciding which of the 15 eco-towns make the final shortlist of up to 10.

The announcement confirming which schemes have been chosen is expected later this year.

The panel told the Government:: "The Weston Otmoor proposal is based around a developed transport strategy.

However, it needs to address the possible wider implications on neighbouring Bicester and refine the concept to create a place where people will want to live and work.

The transport strategy is potentially transformational and uses tram-train, free travel and demand management for car-use.

As residents may simply take the tram to the park-and-ride and drive to either London or Birmingham, how will the town be stopped from becoming Commuterville?

Details are needed about how the proposed road charging will be enforced and governed.

It needs to be demonstrated how the proposed high street will be viable, given the proposed population, illustrating why residents would not shop in the larger centres of Bicester and Oxford?"