CAMPAIGNERS have been dealt a hammer blow in their legal bid to halt plans for more than 1,000 homes in the Hampshire countryside.

Battle lines were drawn after Botley Parish Action Group (BPAG) and Botley Parish Council joined forces in a bid to take their fight to the highest court in the land.

But their first attempt to secure a judicial review to a decision to allow a massive 1,400-home development at Boorley Green has been thrown out by the High Court – and it could cost the pressure group thousands of pounds.

As reported, BPAG collected a war chest from residents opposing the original Eastleigh Borough Council planning decision.

It came after more than 600 people marched through Botley in protest at the plans.

The scheme was controversially given the green light despite concerns it would swamp roads with traffic and virtually double the size of Botley.

But judges at the High Court have said they were not persuaded by the pressure group’s arguments concluding that the council’s reasons for granting permission were adequate.

BPAG have now been ordered to pay a £5,250 contribution towards the borough council’s legal costs. But they now have seven days to make up their minds over whether to appeal the High Court’s decision.

A spokesman told the Daily Echo: “Obviously this is a blow and it is not what we wanted but we have to decide now what we are going to do next.

“We are not asking for anything unreasonable. All we want is for an independent review over whether this is the right site for housing in the area.”

The vice chairman of Botley Parish Council, Kevin Barton, added that the council would support the pressure group “where appropriate”.

“Botley Parish Council was uncomfortable about the development itself in the first place and that is why we were looking at reviewing the process.

“I think it is one step at a time – we have to look at what BPAG do.”

But Eastleigh Borough Council leader Keith House said he was already looking forward to seeing the development through to completion.

“We knew that the council had a strong position and are delighted with the High Court’s decision to refuse a judicial review.

“We now look forward to progressing the development and providing much needed homes for local people.”