Petitioners: ‘Hands off our meadows’

The Save Gavray Meadows group outside Bodicote House
The Save Gavray Meadows group outside Bodicote House

A 1,500-strong petition has been presented to councillors to protect rare wildlife meadows from development.

Gavray Meadows, on the south-east edge of Bicester, is home to lizards, grass-snakes, dragon flies and deer as well as many birds and wild flowers.

The Save Gavray Meadows group has been collecting signatures for two years and they presented the petition at Bodicote House in Banbury this morning, Friday. PNL-140310-154230001

The Save Gavray Meadows group has been collecting signatures for two years and they presented the petition at Bodicote House in Banbury this morning, Friday. PNL-140310-154230001

But campaigners say the revised Cherwell District Council local plan fails to protect the green space so developers are free to bulldoze their way into the site which dates back to the 1600s.

The Save Gavray Meadows group has been collecting signatures to protect the site for two years and it presented the petition to the district council at Bodicote House in Banbury this morning, Friday.

John Broad, of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), thinks the district council has overestimated the number of houses needed for SE Bicester and Gavray Drive.

He said: “Having nothing in the local plan about the meadows is a bit irritating.

“The revised plan says there will be 40 per cent more houses than before but CPRE hired a professor who said that is at least two times over what it should be. It’s complete gibberish.

“It’s a developers’ paradise at the moment, they can eat into the site and that’s completely mad.”

Gavray Meadows is part of only a handful of unspoilt wetland meadows left in the country.

Campaigners say development will cut off the wildlife corridor to the countryside.

Revisions to the local plan will be discussed at a full council meeting on October 20 with any alterations being presented to the planning inspector the following day.