LEAD, arsenic and mecury have been found in land proposed for 16 homes, prompting safety fears among villagers.

Plans have been submitted to West Oxfordshire District Council to develop a former landfill site and gravel pit in Kingham, near Chipping Norton.

But villagers have set up an opposition group after documents submitted with the application show the land – which was in-filled with cement and household waste until the 1960s – is contaminated with toxic elements.

Fowlers Road resident Lisa Warne, 34, said: “We’re shocked that they want to build houses on that area of land when it’s known to be an ex-tip.

“A lot of the people here can remember it being there in the past and there’s a report which shows it could be harmful to human health.

“We’d all be very disappointed if it was passed and would feel let down.

“There’s a lot of pressure to build new housing, but this could be dangerous.

“They would be digging up soil which is settled and that’s when problems will arise.”

A ground investigation report by environmental consultant Core Geotechnics last year said there are “significant exceedences” of lead and “slight exceedances” of mercury and arsenic.

It added that the elements could “present a possibility of significant harm to human health.”

The elements could be harmful to humans if they are inhaled or swallowed when the soil is dug up, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Married mum-of-two Mrs Warne, an agricultural consultant, added: “There’s also a lot of ill feeling because of the fact it’s right in the heart of the village, where we’ve got a lot of traffic congestion.”

The plans, which include eight affordable homes, were submitted by a Mr and Mrs Endley, who live next to the Church Street site and Oxford Architects wrote a planning statement.

It makes no reference to the contamination report but says the development would not cause significant harm to the landscape.

Residents have also raised issues about increased traffic and also that there are protected species, such badgers, currently living on the site.

Kingham Parish Council will hire two consultants to give advice on contamination and traffic issues.

Clerk Nicole Marina said: “There are a few concerns which have been raised through the proper channels and we’re just waiting to see what happens with the consultants’ reports.”

The district council’s area development manager Phil Shaw said: “We always consult our contamination officer with planning matters of this type before making any recommendations.”

Oxford Architects partner Brian Donnelly declined to comment.

The plans are scheduled to go before the uplands area planning sub-committee on Monday, September 1.

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