RESIDENTS are fighting a last ditch battle to stop a mini town being built on the doorsteps of their Church Crookham homes.

With time running out, they still hope to persuade Hart Council to reduce the number of homes earmarked for the former Gurkha Queen Elizabeth Barracks' site.

But some councillors have criticised the protesters for leaving it until the eleventh hour before launching their campaign.

The councillors say the residents should have started complaining several years ago when the proposed 1100-home development was first mooted.

Mrs Jenny Radley, who helped organise a protest meeting last week, said: "We don't feel we are to blame for not getting involved earlier."

Instead she accused Hart Council of keeping them in the dark about the blueprint which, she said, would cause horrendous traffic and other problems.

"We wrote to the council and our MP ages ago saying we were concerned about the plan, but we heard nothing back," said Mrs Radley, of Sandy Lane, Church Crookham.

"We are just ordinary people and we don't understand the processes and the way these things are dealt with. We feel we are being walked over."

Feelings ran high at last week's meeting in the War Memorial Hall which, she estimated, was attended by almost 500 protesters.

"We know we can't stop this site being developed," added Mrs Radley. "But we want a proper review so that the number of homes is reduced to a level which can be properly integrated into the area."

Hart Council spokeswoman Eileen O'Brien said last Friday that the proper procedures had been followed to keep the public in the picture about the scheme.

About 250 people had sent in written comments by the consultation deadline last Thursday.

These will be taken into consideration when the council decides on a development blueprint for the site later this month.

Under the current timetable, an outline planning application is expected to be submitted in June.