WATER voles are undermining plans for a new housing estate in a West Oxfordshire village.

Developer West Waddy wants to build 38 homes on a farmer’s field outside Aston near Bampton.

But villagers, 90 of whom have signed an online petition against the building work, say there is evidence of the endangered aquatic mammals living less than 200m from the planned estate.

They also complain that the estate, next to Saxel Close, would be outside the village, blurring the rural boundary with the neighbouring village of Cote.

Campaign leader Angela Blake accused the developer of only conducting a “desk-based” wildlife survey, and not accounting for water voles now living near the site.

West Oxfordshire District Council’s lowlands planning sub-committee will decided whether to allow the planning application at its meeting at Wood Green council offices at 2pm. West Waddy refused to comment.