CONCERNED villagers turned out in their droves to find out more about where potential housing developments could be built in Blockley.

St George's Hall was packed yesterday evening (Wednesday) for the drop-in event which is an early step in the preparation of Cotswold District Council's (CDC) local plan.

Residents were asked to comment on five sites in the village - whittled down from 15 - which have been earmarked for potential development following a site assessment by Blockley Parish Council.

Fifty-four houses have been planned for the village in the next 20 years, an eight per cent increase in households, compared with a 40 per cent increase in Moreton.

Rhea Bazeley, of Draycott Road, who lives opposite land north of Sheathouse Farm which is one of the sites put forward for consideration, said she was worried about future development.

"These are the sites landowners have put forward for potential development but if a landowner has not put in their site the danger is they will develop it themselves individual of anything going on with the council," she said.

"Once a developer gets a site of that size that's been suggested in this area they will go on and try for other sites. It will completely change the while feel of a small village in the Cotswolds.

"Everyone is incredibly worried."

Bernard McMahon, of Station Road, said he was not happy with the sites put forward.

"We moved here a few years ago for a village atmosphere, " he said. "Now we're going to be living in a small town by the sound of it if they get their way. It's a large village as it is. There are no jobs here everybody is going to commute in and out. Moreton is just down the road. Why do we need all these houses in Blockley?"

But Ollie Lincoln, of Greenway Road, said: "I think we do need some small scale sustainable housing and more affordable homes for younger families or this village is in danger of going into decline."

Jeff Bishop, a consultant brought in by CDC to co-ordinate the consultation, said the district council was only the third authority in the country to prepare for the local plan in this way.

"It's a community-led process," he said. "It's time consuming and a bit of effort but it pays off. Local people know an awful lot of things that developers don't have time to find out."