NEIGHBOURS have formed a pressure group in a bid to stop a public school building homes on Green Belt land.

Villagers at Radley have reacted angrily to Radley College's proposal for houses and a sports pavilion in Gooseacre, off Foxborough Road.

They have formed a Save Radley group after the village parish council backed the independent school's proposals.

Save Radley co-founder John Platts, of Norfolk Close, said many residents feared the proposal could see the village eventually swamped by housing.

He said: "Radley is defined only by the presence of the Green Belt that surrounds it.

"Breaching the Green Belt within and on the edge of the village would represent a dangerous precedent that could signal the end of Radley as an independent village.

"It will inevitably result in development pressures on land that surrounds the village, including land which separates it from Abingdon."

The college promised to provide a new village hall as part of the plans, which provoked angry scenes when revealed at a public meeting in July.

Mr Platts said the scheme could also weaken the case to preserve nearby Radley Lakes, which were recently reprieved from being used as a dump for ash from Didcot power station.

He added that the current village hall - which would be demolished under the school's plans - was 40 years old, but still younger than the halls in many of the surrounding villages.

Only last year, it had been given an £11,000 renovation, he said.

Parish council chairman Jenny Standen said she was disappointed by "unnecessary" criticisms of the college made at the public meeting.

She said: "It is a very good offer, but it does have some drawbacks. We now want to go into the whole thing in more detail."

She said a local referendum might be considered to establish whether the majority of the village supported the idea.

Ms Standen warned that if the proposal was rejected, the village would face the prospect of having to eventually pay for a new village hall itself.

Radley College earlier said it was too early to say how many new homes might be built, or what type of houses they would be.