DOZENS of villagers took to the streets to issue a defiant hands-off warning to a Government inspector who has recommended developing open land for housing.
Parents with prams, panting dogs on leads and even a claxon blowing teenager formed a colourful Save Standish protest procession from the former Standish Court Golf Club site to St Marie’s Church at the weekend.
Many family groups had made their own banners which were waived enthusiastically at approaching cars and Saturday shoppers ... some who stopped to applaud.
The group want the council to join them in a legal challenge to Government planning inspector Kevin Ward’s decision to approve a further 1,000 home house building in the village as his major revision to the council’s all-powerful Core Strategy.
Organisers Standish Independent councillors Gareth Fairhurst and his father George declared themselves pleased with the turn out considering many residents were already away enjoying the Bank Holiday.
The demonstration had also raised awareness of the protest group, they said.
Coun Gareth Fairhurst said: “ It was a great turnout.
“With it being a bank holiday you always worry but about a couple of hundred residents from the young to the elderly Standish residents came together.
“We launched our new poster on the day too and we gave out a few hundred and they are starting to appear in house and shops windows.
“What was also interesting to see was that the traffic was queued from the lights to half way down Almond Brook as we marched past which perfectly illustrated just what we are concerned about.
“There was no rugby or football match on and we walked on the pavement, so that wasn’t the reason, but still the traffic was busy.
“Another 2,000 cars would gridlock Standish.
“The council need to make this argument in the strongest possible terms to the Planning Inspector before he makes his decision.”
Coun George Fairhurst said that the consultation into the proposed revisions had now re-opened and it was important that all residents who had sent written objections to the original proposals, now write or email it again to the council’s planning chief Steve Normington.
Save Standish members have been collecting cash donations for a fighting fund to pay for expert advice from specialist Counsel about the chances of success for any eventual legal challenge to the inspector’s decision.
But the group are still hopeful that it can persuade the council to take the action.