PLANS to create a caravan site for travellers which received 81 objections - including from the governor of a jail - have been refused.

The proposed site in Piddington, near Bicester, would have consisted of 12 pitches, each with two caravans on land off Widnell Lane, located north east of Bullingdon prison.

Prison governor Laura Sapwell objected over security concerns and said any development so close to the jail is a ‘real concern’.

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She said in her objection letter to Cherwell District Council: “As part of our security measures, we monitor carefully any activity around the external perimeter so that any unauthorised people, vehicles or suspicious activity which may pose a threat to the security of the prison has to be investigated and challenged.

“Any new development - of any type - so close to the HMP Bullingdon site which brings more people and more vehicles close to our land and buildings, is a real concern.”

This is not the first development that Mrs Sapwell, as the governor, has objected to in the area.

In June, she was one of 195 people who opposed a plan to build a 59,000-strong chicken farm in Lower Arncott over fears about the smell.

She was concerned the stench could be so bad that it would stop prisoners wanting to go outside and exercise and the application was rejected.

Councillors were recommended to refuse the caravan site at a planning committee meeting on Thursday.

Each pitch on the site was proposed to have one mobile home and one touring caravan and woodland planting and a grassed area of land would be provided in the north eastern corner of the site.

Foul sewerage would be provided by way of a water treatment plant.

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Six pitches in the same location were approved on appeal in 2019, but residents felt it was not appropriate for any more to be set up in the village.

Piddington Parish Council also objected to the plans. It said: “We do not consider the site to be suitable to sustain 12 caravans with approximately 50 residents.

“Piddington is a category C village and has been described as one of the least sustainable locations in Cherwell.”

“We have no school, no doctor’s surgery, no shop, no pub and no bus service. The site in question is prone to flooding and has no connection to mains services.”

As the site would be located on agricultural land in the open countryside, council officers said it would 'have an urbanising effect on the open countryside' and ‘cause harm to the character and appearance of the area’.

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It was also identified as being at risk from surface water flooding.

Villager David Hutchings, who also objected, said: “For 12 pitches to each have two caravans plus the addition of extra road vehicles as a result would generate a substantial increase in traffic to this rural narrow lane (which has two blind bends adjacent to entrance).

“The size of such an overdeveloped site would have a huge dominance on the local community.”

Robert Bonnet, who lives in Piddington, said: “There is a danger that this expanded site will grow further and begin to dominate the locality.

“The essential character of our village and its environs would be adversely affected with the growth of an alternative but transient community on its doorstep.”

The applicant, Patrick Foster, did not submit enough information to show the amount of impact that the development may have on protected species and a flood risk assessment was also not submitted, meaning planning officers were unable to assess the flood risk.

This was one of the reasons why the application was refused.

The council also did not receive ‘adequate information’ to show the impact the caravan site could have on protected species.

It is not yet known whether Mr Foster will appeal the council's decision.