Campaigners opposing plans to build an eco-town near Bicester took their protest to Parliament today.

Thousands of protesters held up banners and placards fighting plans for eco-towns around the country, including Weston Otmoor near Weston-on-the-Green.

Members of the Weston Front joined forces with other campaign groups to press their case to Housing Minister Caroline Flint.

Group founder Tony Henman said: "It was hectic, but went very well. The turnout was good.

"Caroline Flint has always said so-called eco-towns would not be built on Green Belt, so Weston Otmoor fails her own criteria. The proposal for Weston Otmoor is a clear example of Government policy that has not been thought through in reality."

Developer Parkridge wants to build on 800 acres of farmland close to the A34/M40 junction.

Weston Otmoor is one of 15 eco-towns already on the Government's shortlist, which will be narrowed down to 10 in October.

Consultation on the schemes ends on July 18.

A number of high profile figures have added their support to protests against the schemes, with Midsomer Murders star John Nettles, Dame Judi Dench and author Jilly Cooper fighting the development of Middle Quinton, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Ms Flint said: "Eco-towns are a new concept in England and we know that they invoke strong opinions. That's why the consultation process is so important.

"However, our initial research among the general public shows clear support."