So the soul is set to be ripped out of Oxford's former Castle Mill boatyard with 54 flats proposed for the site (Oxford Mail, August 16).

Yet again, predatory developers move in for the kill.

Oxford author Philip Pullman's Canaletto painting analogy was spot on - "Our own Venice."

How about "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot". Swap car park for flats - flats that will obscure the picturesque view of St Barnabas Church.

Developers are offering to build a new marina in Yarnton, but that's not the point - it is just sweetening the pill. Many high-profile celebrities have given their support, so the boatyard is obviously a treasured asset.

Oxford has a rich 1,000-year history, but this doesn't seem to matter to developer Spring Residential, which will wipe a precious part of Oxford's character if plans get the green light. Why are developers given carte blanche for these unpopular proposals?

However, this is a scenario not just happening in Oxford, but all over Britain - greedy developers, land grabbing at all costs.

Flats and houses are built with no regard for the surroundings, and what are the subsequent consequences? Concrete jungle style sprawls, faceless, clone towns, town centres devoid of soul, character and imagination.

I don't live in Oxford, but this story caught my eye and anyone can see what the boatyard residents are fighting for - a good dose of common sense and a scaled-down version of the flats development.

Oxford's identity should be preserved and promoted. The area is obviously vital for its residents.

We are quick to plant metal trees in mother nature's garden of Eden and build a Centre for Islamic Studies.

Now let us preserve our own rich heritage before Britain becomes a unified ghetto land.

The Canaletto painting in the Ashmolean Museum is protected - Britain's soul and unique history needs protecting too!

DAVID TINSON Moorland Road Witney