A COALITION of community groups and campaigners is to hold its first major rally in Witney to protest against the construction of housing developments in rural areas.

The Rural Oxfordshire Action Rally [ROAR] will hold a public rally on Saturday, at Church Green, Witney from 11am to 12.30pm.

ROAR chairman and Woodstock town councillor Peter Jay, former British ambassador to the US, said: "We're a group of people and organisation from all over Oxfordshire coming together under one banner, to express our alarm and anger at the way in which the planning system has been defectively changed over the past two-and-a-half years, to allow a rash of rampant cynical developer driven building projects which would have been refused permission under the traditional planning criteria.

He added: "We're extremely angry about this because we think it poses a threat to the environment, to the community and our homes.

"I think it's terribly important that ordinary people in Oxfordshire can come together to express their alarm and rage that their homes and their environment are being threatened by this."

Developments the group is campaigning against include a planning application submitted to West Oxfordshire District Council last year for 200 homes between Witney and Hailey.

Other speakers include Campaign to Protect Rural England director Helen Marshall, Witney Labour party parliamentary candidate Duncan Enright, Green party Witney candidate Stuart MacDonnald, UKIP candidate, Simon Strutt, and Liberal Democrat candidate Andy Graham.

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