A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build 3,000 homes at an airfield will be submitted this summer, a Government agency has said.

Homes England wants to build homes ‘as soon as possible’ on the Chalgrove site – but many residents are opposed.

It is a critical part of South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan which will be decided over coming months and outlines where 28,500 new homes will go.

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Opponents have claimed building on the airfield would ‘destroy’ the Chalgrove community, while others have urged work to be stopped on what they slammed as a ‘blinkered view of a mythical Nirvana’.

Ken Glendinning, Homes England’s head of strategic land, admitted the development was ‘contentious’ but said it would be a key project that would mean thousands of people could own their own home.

He said: “To some it will be contentious, to some it will provide them with the chance to own their own homes in an area that has got a problem with high house prices.

“I hope the work [done by Homes England] will convince those that are sceptical that we are committed.”

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The agency said the development – that could be finished by the mid-2030s – would ‘reduce travel distances’ for residents by providing new jobs and shops.

Next week it will hold two events about proposed bypasses which will help motorists travel to the site.

It wants to submit planning applications for the housing estate in the summer, and others for a bypass in Cuxham and another in Stadhampton and Chiselhampton in the autumn.

Mr Glendinning added: “There is always scepticism on a project that is as ambitious as this that it won’t come forward.

“We are committed, we are doing the work. We are working with the community and want to continue working with the community.”

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However one opponent to the scheme said Homes England was consistently ignoring residents’ concerns.

Paul Boone, the chairman of the Chalgrove Airfield Action Group, said: “We have spoken to [Homes England] so many times but they have taken no interest in what we have said.

“I am not sure ‘working with the community’ is the right expression. I think ‘carrying on regardless’ is probably the expression.”

Chalgrove lies about 13 miles south-east of Oxford and some detractors say it would be too far away to meet the city’s ‘unmet’ housing need.

Mr Glendenning said it was suitable for the homes.

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He added: “It is a brownfield site, it is not in the green belt, and it fits well with the Oxfordshire Growth Deal, which is about good growth and providing good facilities and good infrastructure.”

International ejector seat company Martin-Baker, which holds a long-term lease on the land, would need to be moved off part of the site, but Homes England said it could still be accommodated.

Talks with the company have broken down but a compulsory purchase order remains a ‘last resort’, Mr Glendinning said.

Of the 3,000 planned homes, 1,200 would be designated as 'affordable' and the development would contain employment space, community, education and health facilities and public green spaces.

A Freedom of Information request to Homes England showed just 15 comments were submitted to a website advertising the new development. Two-thirds of those were spam messages.

Last year, Oxfordshire County Council said Homes England had earmarked too little funding for key infrastructure, especially for roads.

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But it has said it is now happier that work would be done by Homes England itself.

A county council statement said: “Given the likely need for extensive improvements to the road network and other mitigation, we would normally be concerned that such a development was not viable.

“In this case, we understand that the development will still be viable even with extensive transport requirements, in part because Homes England is able to undertake the works themselves.”

Homes England said it was using work at Northstowe, north of Cambridge, as a model for Chalgrove.

That development is bigger than the airfield – with about 10,000 homes planned – but the agency said it was already ‘thriving’.

Homes England’s events will be held over the new bypasses and the airfield development at Cuxham Village Hall next Thursday from 4pm until 8pm. Another will be held at Stadhampton Village Hall next Friday from 4pm until 8pm.