CONTROVERSIAL plans to build seven retirement cottages on a field in the heart of Minchinhampton have been opposed by residents.
More than 40 people met at the Market House on Thursday night to discuss proposals by Blue Cedar Homes to build on Lemon Field.
The site has been described as a hidden gem, tucked between Tetbury Street, Friday Street and Parsons Court in the middle of the town.
It is located within the Minchinhampton Conservation Area and the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Tom Bradshaw, 33, of Tetbury Street, who attended the meeting, said: "This proposed development is unsympathetic, inappropriate and flawed.
"We and other families along the street will lose privacy by a development which would be shoehorned onto a historic parcel of land which could not be safely accessed."
An action group called Protect Our Space has been formed to oppose the plans.
Campaign chairman Peta Bunbury, who lives in Friday Street, said: "We passionately believe that Lemon Field is unsuitable for this housing development.
"It holds wonderful views over our medieval town, a stunning walnut tree which has a preservation order on it, a lovely small old stone barn and findings from an archaeological dig last summer."
Besides arguing that the development would harm the character of the conservation area and inevitably damage the protected walnut tree, Protect Our Space also fears it would add to the significant parking issues in the town and that its narrow streets would not cope with construction vehicles accessing the site.
Lemon Field is several feet higher than many of the homes in Tetbury Street and residents are concerned that the new houses would lead to a loss of privacy.
Sarah Athey, who lives in Tetbury street, said: "The houses would look straight into our garden. The impact on our life is going to be quite horrific."
An application for five houses on the field was refused in 1993 and this decision was upheld on appeal on the grounds that it would adversely affect the character of the conservation area.
Commenting on the new plans, a spokesman for Blue Cedar Homes said: "Our proposals respond to Stroud District Council’s housing strategy, which recognises the town as a preferred location for new housing and the need for accommodation for the elderly.
"The scheme has been very carefully drawn to make a positive contribution to the character of the area. Through the use of materials and design we believe it will enhance the existing conservation area.
"The independent traffic assessment that accompanies our planning application concludes this scheme would have no adverse impact."
For more information or to submit comments go to www.stroud.gov.uk, the reference number is S.12/0980/FUL