Barthomley residents sign petition against plans to build 1,000 homes
PROTESTERS fighting plans to build 1,000 houses in their village have handed over an 800-name petition.
Residents in Barthomley, near Crewe, are fighting the proposals by the Duchy of Lancaster which owns the land.
They have already secured one concession with the number of proposed houses reduced from 2,500 to 1,000.
But villagers do not want 1,000 houses either and say the plans threaten their livelihoods.
The petition was handed to Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson during a protest outside the White Lion pub on Saturday morning.
Retired Roger Belcher, who has lived in Barthomley for 22 years, said: "If this development goes ahead then it will undoubtedly impact on the village.
"In fact the whole country will be effected because it will erode yet another green space.
"It is robbing young people and young farmers of their future."
Villagers have set up the Barthomley Action Group (BAG) to fight the proposals.
Committee member Emma Parkes, aged 35, who lives in Barthomley and teaches in Nantwich, said: "We are trying to reach people to join the fight and now have a Twitter and Facebook account to put information out there.
"We are getting a lot of support and positive responses from people which is encouraging."
The Duchy of Lancaster's overall proposal includes developing around 600 acres of open countryside around Barthomley and Oakhanger to create a 'network of villages' and an 'employment destination'. The proposal includes thousands of houses and three 'employment villages'.
Farmer Winston Baldwin, aged 63, of Oakhanger, said: "The infrastructure would not be able to cope with such a scheme.
"Developers may think it is a good idea on paper but in 20 years time they will look back and see they have made a mistake."
BAG chairman Viv Belcher said: "We want as many people as possible to make formal objections.
"We are pulling together a fighting fund for the next stage which will hopefully cover legal costs and any input from a planning professional."
Mr Timpson said: "There has been a great turnout for what is a small rural community. "
Villagers can have their say on Cheshire East Council's Local Plan, which will be used to develop planning policy, until February 25.