CAMPAIGNERS say they are confident of finally winning their long-running battle to stop 200 homes being built on village fields.

Champagne corks were popping around Hartley Wintney last July when Hart Council threw out the controversial development at Dilly Lane.

But the developer has appealed and the application will now be thrashed out before a government planning inspector.

Both sides will argue their case during a public inquiry to be held at Hart's headquarters in Harlington Way, Fleet on July 23.

Christine Toms, chairman of Hartley Wintney Action Group, who helped lead the call for the plan to be thrown out, said she was confident of success.

"We have nothing to fear because we have a very strong case for this to be turned down for some time to come," she said.

"The government is urging local planning authorities to move away from developing greenfield sites and we think we have been vindicated in our fight to stop the fields in Dilly Lane from being developed.

"I am confident we can win this appeal because the reasons for turning it down were very valid."

Mrs Toms warned that if the Dilly Lane scheme goes ahead it would open the floodgates for development of the countryside between Hartley Wintney and Winchfield.

She also said it would mean even more traffic chaos on nearby roads and more severe flooding problems for residents.

Mrs Toms said the proposed development is a long way from the village centre and pointed out that the village is poorly served by public transport.

She also said village doctors have warned they are unable to provide the level of healthcare they want to existing patients, let alone to the extra patients the Dilly Lane development would generate.

"I have informed the council and the inspector that I wish to speak at the inquiry because it is something I feel very passionately about," said Mrs Toms.

"If they rip up this greenfield site there will be nothing left for future generations.

"This is totally the wrong place to develop in Hartley Wintney. We are not against development in the village but let's get it right."

The scheme has also come under fire from Hartley Wintney and Winchfield parish councils, Hartley Wintney Preservation Society, Hampshire police and scores of residents.