Campaigners from Oxfordshire have condemned "the ghastly shadow" hanging over their lives created by the Government's eco-towns project.

Protest groups said there was a failure to consult the public properly over the policy to build "environmentally friendly" homes in Weston Otmoor, near Biceser, to meet housing shortages.

The Government announced a shortlist of 13 potential sites last April in their consultation document Eco-Towns: Living a Greener Future.

Campaign group lawyers at London's High Court said the consultation process was conducted "in a way which was bound to inspire cynicism and concern".

They are seeking court orders to force the Government to have a rethink and take fuller account of the views of local residents.

The campaign is being led by the Better Accessible Responsible Development Campaign, which is opposed to 6,000 new homes being built in Warwickshire.

The application for judicial review is also being brought by Weston Front, a campaign group fighting the proposed Weston Otmoor eco-town in Weston-on-the-Green, near Bicester.

Anthony Crean QC, appearing for Weston Front, said he was representing people who had the eco-town's "ghastly shadow hanging over their lives" and wanted the matter dealt with as quickly as possible.