AN ECO-TOWN developer wants to build outside Wallingford, to the shock of residents.

The firm behind the controversial 5,000-home eco town on the outskirts of Bicester has confirmed it is looking at a 200-acre site. It is understood it would feature 200 homes close to the Fairmile Hospital site at Cholsey.

The news came to light in an email to local MP and Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey from Max Farrell, marketing director for Terry Farrell and Partners, architects for the scheme.

He said: “One of the sites presents opportunities to create a sympathetically planned and designed new ‘village’ style development, and very sizeable parklands for the benefit of Wallingford and the surrounding towns, particularly Cholsey where there is a real opportunity to make more of the main line rail connection.”

The firm declined to comment on the number of proposed homes.

Major housing developments are only likely to be approved by South Oxfordshire District Council if they feature in its long-term core strategy plan for where homes should go.

This has approved 400 homes for Slade End Farm, between Wantage Road and Bosley Way in Wallingford.

Smaller ‘windfall’ developments will be allowed, but district council leader Ann Ducker said: “As much as we welcome innovative ways to reduce damage to the environment caused by new housing, a large eco-village near Cholsey is unlikely to be approved.

“It is not a site allocated in our plan for larger housing developments and goes against planning policy to build on Green Belt land.”

Cholsey Parish Council chairman Mark Gray said: “People in the village are shocked by this.

“There are about 3,500 people living in Cholsey and new homes would put extra pressure on the surrounding roads.”