RESIDENTS in Wallingford have begged politicians to stop developers from turning their town into Abingdon.

Many are upset the core strategy being created by South Oxfordshire District Council has allocated 850 homes to build in the town by 2026.

It was all but certain the extra houses would be built on green field land either at Slade Farm, west of the town, or south of the town at Winterbrook.

A string of developers have been champing at the bit to submit planning applications for hundreds of homes around the town’s existing boundaries.

But earlier this year, the district council called in consultants to re-evaluate where the homes should be built.

Their final recommendations are yet to be published, and are likely to prompt further debate about how many homes should be built, and where.

At a public meeting, entitled The Future Of Wallingford, called by MP Ed Vaizey, residents said although some new homes were needed, mass development would change the town’s character.

Elizabeth Barklie, 81, of Turton Crescent, said: “Abingdon is a warning.

“It had changed from a nice market town to just a mass of rooftops to the motorway. Do not let this happen to Wallingford.

“I feel so strongly that if ‘Noddy’ housing is being dumped en masse on that green area of Wallingford, we are losing the character of our historic market town.”

In February, a planning inspector will decide whether to allow an appeal by Wates Group to build 106 homes off Reading Road, Winterbrook, while Berkeley Homes wants to build 550 nearby.

Meanwhile, the development arm of insurance company Prudential, Prupim, has unveiled plans for 850 homes at Slade End Farm on a 30-hectare-site.

Resident Jerry Unsworth said if permission were granted, developers could determine Wallingford’s future.

He said: “The council has got to come out clearly to say it doesn’t want development on the [Wates] site. If it does not, the decision will be taken out of our hands and put wholly in the hands of developers.”