A DEVELOPER is pressing ahead with contentious housing plans to build a new estate on historic parkland.

Cala Homes wants to build 24 new homes, 11 of them affordable, on green land next to Karuna House, in Tunnel Hill, Upton-upon- Severn.

Having just submitted its formal planning application, the developer is reassuring residents its proposals will be sympathetic to the 24- acre site, which contains an ancient ridge and furrow field, dewpond and 12 oak trees that are 600-years-old and mark the original field boundary.

However local resident Sylvia Partridge believes the development would “destroy a piece of Upton’s living history”

and has been leading a campaign to try and stop it.

Mrs Partridge has been lobbying at town council meetings, distributing posters and flyers and has even created her own website, which to date has attracted more than 3,000 hits.

“Too often in life we only know what we had when its gone,” she said.

“So it’s good to know that in this case there is an opportunity to make a difference before irreparable damage is done.”

She believes the parkland should remain available for “the whole community to enjoy” and that the “iconic”

skyline looking out from Upton would be destroyed.

She also fears it would only be a matter of time before the historic oaks were chopped down and the dewpond filled in for health and safety reasons.

“The parkland and the ancient assets to be found in it are part of the local natural heritage that should be preserved and passed on to future generations,” she said, adding: “Put simply, Cala Homes wishes to destroy a piece of Upton’s living history purely for profit.”

But Darren Humphreys, Cala’s regional managing director, said he wanted to reassure people concerned about the ecological impact of the development.

“We are planning to incorporate much of the existing mature landscaping, including the veteran oaks which will be retained and respected under a tree preservation order,” he said.

“We are aware that mediaeval ridge and furrow forms a part of the site and a significant proportion of this will also be retained as part of our plans.”

He added: “Our proposal is for a low density scheme of the highest quality design and finish, in keeping with the local area.”

Mr Humphreys said Cala would be sending out a newsletter to residents addressing some of their concerns.