CAMPAIGNERS are right to be cautious after a second planning application for homes next to the Flogas plant on the Burford Road near Witney was defeated last week.

The Windrush Valley Protection Group fears developer Gladman will simply fight the plans at appeal and persuade the Secretary of State of the benefits of the scheme.

This is something Gladman has succeeded with in the past.

One notable case that angered former Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry was a development on a 6.5 acre site on the southern edge of Bloxham near Banbury.

Cherwell District Council refused an application for 75 homes in the village but it was overturned at the appeal stage. Sir Tony organised meetings of villagers and campaigners and spoke of developers “riding a coach and horse” through the planning process.

In the Witney case, West Oxfordshire District Council has sided with the campaigners to stand against the application in defence of the natural beauty of the Windrush Valley. It also highlighted concerns the homes would be too close to the Flogas plant and in a danger zone in the event of an explosion.

Campaigners like the Windrush Group will have to use all the weapons in their armoury to fight developments in rural areas.