A FRESH campaign to protect green spaces on a west Bicester estate has been set up as people fear development will be built on land that is up for auction.

People in Derwent Road and Dryden Avenue have put up posters and banners in the hope of preventing the sale of an area of green space called Derwent Green.

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It comes after people were alerted that the field behind Bowmont Square and the Shakespeare pub is due to be sold at public auction today (Thursday) at a guide price of £20,000.


Bicester Advertiser: Residents in Derwent Green. Pic by Ed NixResidents in Derwent Green. Pic by Ed Nix

The land for sale includes several small plots of green space, 'ornamental gardens' and two Bicester Town Council-owned parks.

The campaign is the latest in an ongoing battle to save the green spaces on the Greenwood Homes estate that began in 2015 and led to Derwent Green Residents Group being set up.

In 2015, a small plot of land in Dryden Avenue was bought and plans were submitted for three maisonettes to be built in a two-storey building.

Derwent Green Residents Group chairman Stephen Rand said: "Three times speculators have bought plots on this estate and applied for planning permission, and we have objected successfully each time. This time we want to do our best to prevent the sale and avoid months of anxiety for local residents.

Bicester Advertiser: The area marked in red is up for auction on Thursday.The area marked in red is up for auction on Thursday.

"Our campaign has prevented three speculators making money out of ruining the estate by building unnecessary housing in inappropriate places. The council has rejected planning permission each time, and have recommended in the draft local plan that the plots should be adopted as Local Green Space."

The group successfully applied for Derwent Green and Avon Crescent land to be made Assets of Community Value, but its protection listing ended in July 2020.

Bicester Advertiser: Residents in Derwent Green. Pic by Ed NixResidents in Derwent Green. Pic by Ed Nix

Stephen added: "We have written this week to Bicester Town Council urging them to act rapidly to protect this new plot, which is home to two council play areas. We have urged them to explore the possibility of compulsory purchase, so that the errors of 30 years ago can be put right.

"The posters are intended to make it clear to any prospective bidder that comes to visit that these plots are not potential building land, and they risk losing their money, just like the previous three."

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Bicester town council leader councillor Richard Mould said he joined campaigners on Saturday morning and spoke to them about the auction, saying the council plans to defend the area.

He said: "The council will defend this green space to make sure it is available for the community to enjoy and to continue using the children’s play area and playing sport on the recreation land.

"When the land was developed in the 1980’s Cherwell District Council placed conditions on the amenity land and we will be working to make sure these are adhered to."

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