VILLAGERS in Kingham are worried that new houses could be built on contaminated land containing arsenic, mercury and lead.

Plans have been submitted to West Oxfordshire District Council for 16 new homes on a former landfill site and gravel pit which was in-filled with clinker and household refuse in the mid 1900’s.

Lisa Warne from Fowlers Road said: “Surprisingly no recommendation or indication is given that the contamination will be removed before the homes are built. Moreover the developer has suggested that the contaminated soil will be covered over by importing topsoil onto the site, meaning that the contamination will still exist once the houses are sold. Eight of the 16 proposed houses are deemed to be affordable housing for young families in the village. I would be horrified if the plans went through as they are.”

Clerk of Kingham Parish Council Nicole Marina said: “We have discussed this application in committee and will be calling on a consultant to help us decide on our recommendation to the district council. We will be looking into the plans very carefully because of the concerns.”

Area development manager for the council, Phil Shaw said: “We always consult our contamination officer with planning matters of this type before making any recommendations.” Mr Shaw explained that there are a number of options available to the developer which included removing the contamination from the site or capping the area and sealing it so nothing leaks into the environment.

A recent survey of the site revealed levels of Arsenic, Mercury & Lead in excess of government safety guidelines. The plans for development are due to go before the planning committee in early September.

Call in with Kemp and Kemp (Abingdon) - 01865 240001. (planning agent)