MORE than 600 people took to the streets of a Hampshire village today to protest against a proposed housing development.

Residents – many carrying banners and placards – brought the centre of Botley to a standstill as they demonstrated against plans for 1,400 homes to be built on a golf course near Boorley Green.

Today’s march, which closed the High Street for half an hour, was organised by the Botley Parish Action Group (BPAG).

It says that the roads, schools and health services in the area could not support such a development and that the planning application is premature because Eastleigh Borough Council’s Local Plan is yet to be rubber stamped by an independent inspector.

Campaigners hope the march may sway Eastleigh councillors’ decision when they consider the plan at the Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee on February 18.

BPAG chairman Sue Grinham said: “We’re all concerned about the impact this is going to have on the environment.

“It’s a short sighted quick fix against all the council’s principles.”

The consortium behind the development has previously said that it will help tackle a housing shortage, would bring a host of community facilities, which could include a new primary school, supermarket and sports pitches, as well as economic benefits to Eastleigh borough and could also help to fund a bypass at Sundays Hill, Bursledon.

A spokesman added: "The Boorley Green consortium would like to emphasise that it is not unusual for outline planning applications to be submitted when final consultations into area's Local Plans are nearing their conclusions.

"Many of those developing much needed new homes across the country adopt a similar approach and the consortium responsible for the Boorley Green scheme sees the application submission as the next logical step following the extensive community consultations held last year.

"The consortiums have worked hard to consult with the community and have used feedback received both during and since the community consultations to shape the proposals have now been submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council."