Cllr Mark Fullbrook hit out after Barton Willmore backed down on a promise to release the findings of a recent exhibition to him.

But the agent, acting for developer Luckmore Limited, has hit back, claiming some residents who attended the exhibition felt intimidated.

Cllr Fullbrook said the developer asked everyone attending an exhibition into the Dilly Lane homes plan to complete a questionnaire.

“These were put in a box as people left and the aim was clearly to use the comments to strengthen the developer’s position,” he said.

“They aimed to do this by asking a remarkably misleading question as to the number of houses people thought should be built on the site. The lowest option was 150 and clearly they expected most people to choose this as the least bad option on offer.

“Unfortunately for the developer, almost nine out of ten people told me outside the exhibition that they had ignored the boxes and had written the word ‘none’ — something their own survey would have reflected had they made public to me the results as they promised to do.

“I agreed with the organisers of the exhibition that I would not attempt to lobby anyone as they entered the exhibition — instead I spoke to them after they had left the hall.

“The developer in turn agreed to allow me to see the results of the questionnaires after a four-week period had elapsed. They agreed this clearly expecting the results would strengthen their position.”

Cllr Fullbrook said he was “very annoyed” with an e-mail from the agent telling him it would not now be releasing the consultation results.

The e-mail said it was partly because two people complained about being ‘accosted’ on their way into the exhibition and said that they felt ‘rather intimidated’.

The e-mail also said residents were going straight to the table where the questionnaires were, com-pleting the forms and leaving the hall without looking at the exhibition. When asked if they wanted to look at the exhibition they said they did not need to.

The agent also states it received a telephone call from someone who said they had completed a questionnaire in favour of the application and felt there was an ‘atmosphere’ in the village which might make life ‘unpleasant’ for them if it were known that they supported the scheme.

The person added that he and his wife had discovered there was ‘enormous hostility’ to the Dilly Lane scheme and feared that if they put their heads above the parapet ‘the situation might get nasty’.

The e-mail continued: “In this situation we feel that it would not be fair to release copies of the questionnaires.”

Cllr Fullbrook said: “I am certain that what the developer says about there being enormous hostility to the attempt to destroy the green fields at Dilly Lane is correct.

“I do not however accept that this mud slinging is anything other than a pathetic attempt to justify their refusal to release the results of their consultation.

“The real reason for their dishonourable conduct has, I believe, far more to do with the embarrassment they would face when their own survey results show just how unwanted and unnecessary their plans are in the eyes of Hartley Wintney residents.”