A LEGAL bid has been launched over plans to bulldoze a patch of Hampshire countryside and build more than a thousand homes.

Battle lines have been drawn after Botley Parish Council voted to take their fight to the highest court in the land. Just weeks ago it appeared members had abandoned hopes of launching a judicial review into a decision to allow a massive 1,400 home development at Boorley Green.

The scheme was controversially given the green light by Eastleigh Borough Council – despite a mass rally by protesters amid concerns it will swamp roads with traffic and virtually double the size of Botley.

But now parish councillors say they have followed fresh legal advice and rekindled the idea – joining forces with the Botley Parish Action group (BPAG).

The pressure group has submitted an application to the High Court for a judicial review and will now be joined officially by the council in their fight.

BPAG says a war chest of thousands of pounds has been collected from private donors looking to have the plan thrown out.

But Eastleigh Borough Council leader Keith House has already vowed to fight any review and warned his opponents to think “long and hard” before challenging the authority’s decision.

As previously reported, more than 600 people marched through Botley in protest at the plans and the parish council wanted to establish £5,000 in preparation for the appeal.

A BPAG spokesman said: “The BPAG committee has not taken the decision to proceed with a judicial review lightly and would have preferred not to take this route, but Eastleigh Borough Council has not left our community any other options.

“BPAG, as does Botley Parish Council, understands the need for housing, and supports and welcomes the increase by 300 houses close to the centre of Botley.

“But the extra 1400 houses located at Boorley Green is not acceptable, is unsustainable, and will have a highly detrimental effect on our community.”

Eastleigh Borough Council leader Keith House remains defiant and claimed that it was “regrettable” that Botley Parish Council had been “bullied” by BPAG in to taking action. He added: “I don’t think it is a good use of tax payers’ money.

“We would not just fight it but we would seek to retrieve any costs that might be incurred.”