CAMPAIGNERS say hundreds of people have now objected to plans for 170 new homes which would fill a “green gap” between Didcot and East Hagbourne.

Grainger PLC wants to build a development to the east of New Road, which connects the two areas, and a planning application has been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.

Residents of East Hagbourne and Didcot have formed a protest group – Mind the Green Gap – against the proposals.

Campaign co-ordinator Andy Barmer, 53, has lived in East Hagbourne, with wife Beth, for about 10 years.

He and other campaigners say the new estate would significantly increase the size of the village, which has about 600 homes.

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey met campaigners at the site in August and at the time the MP said if the plan was approved it could lead to more housing in the area.

Mr Barmer said: “There have now been almost 300 objections to these proposals which is a significant number, and so far I have only seen three submissions in favour from residents.

“I think that’s about 90,000 words in total that councillors will have to consider – some people have spent days constructing planning-based arguments.

“Tomorrow is the deadline for objections and the application could be discussed by councillors next month or in January.

“It’s not just people in East Hagbourne who are objecting to these proposals. There are also a lot of people against them in Didcot as well – people living in places like Fleet Meadow don’t want this any more than we do.”

The photographer added: “If these 170 homes get the go-ahead, and then more homes are built alongside them we could be looking at Great Eastern Park, as well as Great Western Park.

“The area concerned between Didcot and East Hagbourne was not in SODC’s core strategy as an area for housing.

“People are getting quite upset about this because they are worried they will be losing their local countryside and it could set a worrying precedent.”

Didcot Town Council has objected on the grounds that the proposal would not comply with SODC’s core strategy, and it would lead to “a loss of identity”.

Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “There would be a loss of identity for both Didcot and East Hagbourne if these homes are built.

“I’m surprised there haven’t been more objections.”

Grainger has said the homes would help the council meet its housing needs, with 40 per cent of the project being affordable rent or shared ownership .

The firm’s development director, John Beresford, said “Our application is currently going through the council’s statutory consultation process.

“We shall discuss the results with the council’s planners when the consultation is completed and take it from there.”