A campaign group opposed to the 5,000 home eco-town at Bicester is planning to field candidates at May’s local election.

BaECON (Bicester Eco Con), has labelled the 5,000 eco settlement, at North West Bicester, a “white elephant” and wants it stopped in its tracks.

The group hopes to build a legal case against planning permission for the development.

Last August A2 Dominion’s plans for the first 394 homes, shops and offices were approved by Cherwell District Council’s planning committee.

The next major hurdle for the eco settlement will be the masterplan, set to be submitted soon.

BaECON founder, quantity surveyor Tony Walton, of Lucern Avenue, Bicester, said: “We are looking at fielding candidates in the district council elections in May. All town wards in Bicester and Caversfield are up for grabs.

“The eco-town scheme has been rushed through without going through the local planning process, and leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

Seven district council seats in Bicester, Launton and Caversfield are up for election in May.

Mr Walton also criticised the council for proposing to use £10m Government eco cash to help fund an eco business centre, energy centre and school at the site off the B4100.

He said: “If this scheme was such a good idea then the developer should be paying for these items, not the local authority.

“Cherwell’s underwritten it because it’s the only way to get the exemplar site started. They are gambling with public money.

“This scheme is a potential white elephant.”

Michael Gibbard, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, said: “From the outset, the council has promised that the money provided by central government would be used to ensure appropriate infrastructure was put in place.”