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A campaign group has been launched to fight proposals to build 126 homes on Hawley Park Farm.
More than 100 angry residents met at Hawley Memorial Hall on Tuesday to discuss a scheme put forward by property developer Lightwood Strategic.
Plans to build on the 26-acre site in Hawley Road is in response to an “identified housing need in Hart” say developers; however, objectors believe the development would be detrimental to the environment.
Andrew Flower launched a campaign group on Facebook on Monday and already 80 people have joined.
He said: “When I heard of the proposal looming for the Hawley farm development I had to stand up and voice my thoughts.
"As a local, born and raised on the edge of Hawley, I was saddened when Hawley Grove was built, only realising when work started. This time I have been afforded time to act.”
He added: “This is a recreation area, a sanctioned conservation area and a border between parishes; established to limit the spread of towns that, once merged, reduce the community ethos, and destroy what is essentially our social heritage.”
He said to allow the development to go ahead in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would be a ‘mockery of conservation in the UK’.
Home to bats, owls, snakes, stag beetles, badgers, red kite and black tail dragonfly, campaigners are concerned for the multitude of rare wildlife, not to mention other potential impacts on road safety and pollution.
Permission, in the form of a screening proposal, has been sought from Hart District Council to find out whether an environmental statement should be submitted.
Blackwater and Hawley Town Council said an environmental impact assessment was “absolutely necessary”.
In the last week Hart has received dozens of objections from members of the public and the authority was expected to make a decision on whether an environmental statement was needed as the News & Mail went to press.
It is proposed half the site would remain as open space in the form of Suitable Alternative Natural Green-space (SANG). Access would be from Fernhill Lane.
Daniel Weaver, director of planning consultants Pegasus, said: “We have employed a public relations officer who will soon notify residents with the intentions of the development and the background to the site.
“We are still in the very early stages, this is just a screening application, we have not submitted a formal planning application yet.”