CAMPAIGNERS are preparing for a big fundraising push to buy an 18-acre town green.

The deadline for expressing an interest in buying Warneford Meadow has passed and groups have been given five months to raise the necessary money.

Friends of Warneford Meadow is one of the groups which has expressed an interest.

Group member Andrew Carter said: “What we are doing now is making ourselves into a legal entity and taking the next step, which means we can enter into a partnership with whoever buys the meadow so we can maintain it.

“Obviously we are also considering how to raise the money to make a bid. We hope whoever ends up owning the meadow is concerned about managing it as a town green.”

Town greens are a type of common land on which it is unlawful to build.

Six years ago Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Healthcare Trust – now Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust – submitted an application to build up to 300 homes on the land.

Campaigners successfully registered the land as a town green which was then upheld after the trust challenged the decision in the High Court.

In the meantime it is understood the value of the land has fallen from more than £30m to as low as £500,000.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said a number of people had expressed interest in buying the meadow but would not say who they were.