MORE than 220 people attended a packed meeting organised by an action group as they prepare to take on plans for around 600 houses and a 60-bed care home on fields near Merley.

Save Land North of Merley organised the event earlier this month at the Merley Community Centre, with standing room only for latecomers.

Attendees were provided with an update on what the group had done so far in its campaign to prevent the development of Cruxton Farm and Oakley fields, which had been listed as Green Belt land until its status was changed by Borough of Poole in November 2018.

Group chair Frank Ahern outlined the various ways in which Richborough Estate’s planning application, which still has not been submitted, could be opposed, running through the 14 conditions laid out in the Poole Local Plan that needed to be satisfied before approval could be granted.

He suggested that some of the conditions, such as proper mitigation of unacceptable impacts on the highway network, would be impossible to fulfil.

Assessing the meeting, Mr Ahern said: “The huge number attending proved how deeply local people feel about this and how they want to show their considerable solidarity by gathering to voice their opposition.

“I hope they will have left the meeting reassured that there is still everything to fight for.

“We believe that, for many reasons, the land north of Merley is not suitable for development and we believe that close scrutiny of the Richborough application will reveal its failure to meet all of the council’s fourteen conditions.”

A question and answer session also took place at the event, with Mr Ahern saying the community had opposition to any development of the site.

Most people agreed that more houses needed to be built locally, but only in appropriate numbers and in areas with suitable infrastructure.

All three ward councillors were in attendance at the event, along with former councillor Marion Pope, who previously voiced concerns about Richborough Estate’s proposal.

As reported by the Daily Echo in November last year, the founders of the action group organised a protest against the development, which hundreds of concerned residents attended.

In October2018, Richborough held two public exhibitions to gain feedback on their proposals before they submit a planning application for the 90-acre plot.