RESIDENTS living near land threatened by housing development gathered in the field to show their defiance.

About 80 people gathered at the former allotment site off Lower Howsell Road for a photoshoot-cum-rally in opposition to plans to build 110 homes there.

Local people feel that developing the land would put an intolerable strain on surrounding residential roads and the area's infrastructure.

The land is owned by the Madresfield estate, and the plans were unveiled in June by planning consultants Harris Lamb.

Ron Harris of Summerfield Road, who is organising the campaign and has founded the Malvern Link Forum as the protest body, said: "It was a really good turn-out on Friday, and it just goes to show how strong people living in this area feel about this.

"All the fields between the existing houses and Newland are set for development in the South Worcestershire Development Plan, and it this field is built on as well, there just won't be any open space for children to play or people to walk their dogs.

"The access off Lower Howsell Road is terrible. There was a plan to develop the land in 1993, which was turned down for that reason, and the traffic has only got worse since then."

He said the petition he started against the development has reached 650 signatures. He said: "We brought the petition to the rally and people were signing it there. We've gone all round the houses getting signatures. I set a target of 750 signatures before sending it in to Malvern Hills District Council, and we're now within 100 of that."

The protest campaign continues with a public meeting next Tuesday, August 12, at the Malvern Cricket Club, Regency Road, starting at 7pm.

Mr Harris said: "Everyone is welcome. Two of the ward councillors, Clive Smith and Mike Soley, have agreed to come."

And the following Saturday, August 16, he will have a table in Worcester Road, Malvern Link, to persuade passers-by to sign the petition.