Homeowners fear their village will be “consumed by urbanisation” after a newly published draft local plan has proposed thousands of extra houses on countryside land.

The Hawkwell housing development, proposed by Hallam Land Management and first validated by Cherwell District Council in December 2021, forms part of proposals to extend the land allocation for North-West Bicester.

In its new 2040 draft local plan, consultation for which began in September, Cherwell District Council has included 1,000 additional houses on top of the original proposals.

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The original proposals – for a parcel of land adjacent to Lords Lane and south east of Hawkwell Farm, Bicester – were objected to by 400 members of the public.

Retired teacher Sally Ross, a homeowner in Bucknell, on the boundary of the proposed housing development, said: “If 1,000 extra houses are approved, it will bring the development right up to the edge of the village (Bucknell).

Oxford Mail: Villagers in Bucknell annoyed by proposals for 1,000 extra houses on countryside

“We’re trying to make sure a buffer is kept between us and Bicester, which means the fields and woodlands between the two places needs to be maintained.

“I’m a farmer’s daughter, I understand how important green spaces are. People used to walk around those fields during Covid.

“We feel like we’re being consumed by urbanisation. The village has a lot of old properties, Grade I and II, and it’s a peaceful place to live at the moment.”

Mrs Ross, who is married to Bargain Hunt presenter Charlie Ross, was one of the 400 opposed to the original plans for the Hawkwell development.

She, and others who oppose the development, have now printed out 6,000 flyers which they are handing out to people in the area. The 70-year-old added: “This development as it stands will have a catastrophic effect on Bicester, even without the extra 1,000 houses. Most people in the town don’t seem to know about it.

“We’ve got a meeting coming up with Victoria Prentis, and we’ve had a meeting with Rupert Harrison, the Conservative candidate for the new Bicester and Woodstock constituency.”

Mrs Ross also had a number of concerns about the increased car volumes the new development will bring.

She said: “Our worry is also the traffic. At the moment it isn’t good in our village, what will it be like when there are thousands more cars on the road? It will be catastrophic.

“We have very narrow pavements through the village, so there’s potential safety issues with lots of cars coming through. It wouldn’t be very nice having a lot of traffic come through this small rural village.”

A spokesperson for Cherwell District Council said, “The draft local plan is currently out for public consultation and the Council are encouraging residents to share their views and opinions on all aspects of proposed policies. 

"Which includes the possibility of extending the land allocation for North-West Bicester to allow for an additional 1000 homes to be provided across the whole of the North-West Bicester site.

“The draft plan includes suggested policies to protect settlement character and the environment.

“The impacts of proposed development including for traffic and highways will continue to be assessed in regard to the comments received from the consultation.

“The final plan will need to demonstrate that development is sustainable and will also be made available for comment before it is examined by an independent Inspector.

“The draft Local Plan 2040 consultation is running until 3 November, and can be viewed at cherwell.citizenspace.com/planning-policy/cherwell-local-plan-review-2040-consultation-draft/.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1