HOUSEBUILDER Berkeley was forced into an embarrassing climbdown this week in its row with Hart Council.

The company issued three apologies after jumping the gun over its plans to build 260 homes on farmland at Hitches Lane.

One was to Hart Council for implying in a 26-page glossy brochure that it was backing the company's plan.

Another was to the council's development control chief, Vic Evans, for naming him in the brochure without his knowledge.

And the third was to Feedbac, a local group which is opposing any attempts to build on the farmland.

Red-faced Adrian Brown, Berkeley Group plc development director, said: "We offer our apologies and are sorry for any inconvenience caused."

He admitted that the council had not endorsed the company's development brief and community plan, and neither was it participating in the consultation process.

Mr Brown added that the company had also been wrong to name Feedbac as a possible trustee of land surrounding the proposed development.

His apology was welcomed by Hart Councillor Sean Holden who last week described the brochure as "completely misleading".

He emphasised: "The council has nothing to do with this speculative project."

Coun Holden said on Monday: "Berkeley's arrogance has been humbled by the reaction of local people, councillors and the reporting of the Star."