Plans to cut services at Chipping Norton Hospital have been unanimously condemned by West Oxfordshire District Council's cabinet, which has urged NHS managers to think again.

Councillor Louise Chapman said: "I think the primary care trust should be told in no uncertain terms to go back to the drawing board."

In June, Cherwell Vale NHS Primary Care Trust revealed proposals to close the 18-bed hospital at Over Norton Road, and replace it with a privately owned nursing home with 12 NHS beds.

The plans, published at the start of a three-month public consultation period, also recommended the closure of the existing minor injuries unit and X-ray department.

The council is one of the bodies being consulted, and councillors gave their views at a cabinet meeting on August 4.

It decided none of the PCT's options guaranteed the future of the services, and voted unanimously to ask the trust to reconsider.

Mrs Chapman said: "There are too many ifs and buts, and it's very difficult to see how this might work in the future if we come down on any one option."

Councillors spoke about the isolated position of Chipping Norton, and council leader Barry Norton said: "We feel we don't get the same level of service in rural areas as urban areas, and it seems to be getting worse and worse."

Two members of an action group formed to stop services being cut at Chipping Norton spoke at the meeting.

Afterwards, group chairman Robert Townley said: "I'm very pleased they allowed us to come and speak, and it caused a great deal of debate.

"If we've got the district council, the town council and our MP behind it, and people are behind it, we've got a really good chance of keeping our services."

Heather Barnett, a spokesman for the PCT, said: "The hospital in Chipping Norton, although much loved, is expensive to maintain and there's little room for expansion.

"The proposals have come about as a result of a great deal of discussion with local people, but they are not set in stone.

"We're already investigating opportunities to improve our proposals in line with the feedback we've received from the public."