Families from Culham have formed a campaign group to save their beloved green space from development.
The village has formed a Save Culham Green Belt group and is looking for support against a plan to build 3,500 homes in the area.
The development is set for land adjacent to Culham Science Centre and forms part of South Oxfordshire District Council’s (SODC) local plan, which outlines housing targets until 2031.
On Saturday, the group had a stall at Culham fete to raise awareness of the ‘enormity’ of the proposed development on 313 hectares of Green Belt.
Speaking after the fete, newly appointed chair Caroline Baird said: “We got a very good response at the fete. Many people were completely unaware of the plans.”
Henley MP John Howell was also there to lend his support to the group.
The MP said that both the district council and Oxford city, which is consulting on its own local plan until August, need to justify their approach on how they are allocating their housing demand.
He said: “Save Culham Green Belt needs South Oxfordshire District Council to produce a list of exceptional reasons why this area needs to be taken out of Green Belt.
“This has to be a starting point for a discussion about housing numbers and it needs to put pressure on Oxford City to justify its approach.”
The campaigners were inspired to start their group after a Green Belt walk in early June, organised by the social group, Ladies of Culham.
Speaking about the new group, Caroline said: “Our aims [are] to make as many people as possible aware of the planned development, to hold SODC to account for not following Government guidelines that state clearly that Green Belt should be protected, and to ask SODC to prove the vital need for this specific development.”
A spokesperson from SODC and Vale of White Horse council said: “We are following government guidance relating to Green Belt land.
“It states that during the preparation or review of the Local Plan, Green Belt boundaries can be reviewed.
“We have included the exceptional circumstances relevant to this proposed change in the Local Plan.
“The case for removing land at Culham from the Green Belt will be examined by a government appointed planning inspector once we have submitted our Local Plan to the secretary of state for planning.”