HEALTH chiefs say Warneford Meadow will not figure in new planning proposals to develop land around the Warneford Hospital.

The trust behind the scheme to create a student village on one of the city's most sensitive green sites confirmed that the meadow had been excluded from a revised planning application to be submitted in the New Year.

The trust will be seeking permission to develop only the Warneford playing field and land around Park Hospital.

The scaling down of the scheme comes after a long campaign by residents to save one of the last meadows within the city. More than 1,000 people signed a petition objecting to the development. Campaigners the Friends of Warneford Meadow are pressing to have the meadow registered as a town green.

Residents were given the news at a meeting addressed by the chief executive of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Julie Waldron. She said the trust had already started talks with developers interested in buying the playing field and Park Hospital sites, but no sale had yet been agreed. The meadow is owned by the Secretary of State for Health.

The decision will mean a significant scaling down of a development involving the creation of hundreds of key worker homes and student accommodation units, offices and research buildings on an 18-acre green site near Warneford Hospital.

The trust had said the money is needed to fund service improvements. It had originally intended to appeal against city councillors' refusal to approve the scheme.

But Sietske Boeles, of Friends of Warneford Meadow, said: "This is only a battle won. Getting it registered as a town green remains crucial, otherwise the Department of Health will doubtless cast greedy eyes on the £11m that could be raised by selling it for development."

The trust said it would be awaiting the outcome of the town green application, before deciding on the future of Warneford Meadow.