RESIDENTS are waiting with bated breath as areas of land around their Christchurch homes are set to go under the hammer at auction today.

The freehold for a collection of ground, totalling 8.5 acres to the north east of Hurn Road, is being sold by auctioneers in London.

The lot has been listed with a guide price of £25,000 at the event, which has been organised by Network Auctions and takes place at the Westbury Mayfair Hotel.

Property and land from across the country is up for grabs, with the Christchurch listing coming as a shock to members of the community.

Details on the listing state: “Approximately 8.5 acres of freehold land including woodland, verges, highways, paths and parcels of land with development potential subject to planning.”

The land is close to the St Catherine’s Hill site. It features areas in and around Hillside Drive, Foreland Close, Hestan Close, Orford Close, Blyth Close, Dreswick Close, Whitby Close, Durlston Crescent, Lees Close and Valencia Close. The listing says no representation or warranty is given as to whether the whole or part of the lot is highway adopted at public expense.

It adds: “There are numerous verges and large sections of woodland adjoining dwellings that offer potential for garden extensions, particularly to the rear of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 Foreland Close.

“Parcels of land including those to the north of 4 Whitby Close (0.16 acres) and east of 2 Foreland Close (0.2 acres) may be suitable for development subject to planning.”

A Hillside Drive resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We knew nothing about this until someone spotted it online.

“It has taken us all by surprise and we are worried that this could lead to plans for housing or losing the lovely green spaces we have around here.”

Commons ward councillor Colin Bungey said he did not think the land could be developed easily due to its location around a site of special scientific interest at St Catherine’s Hill.