Campaigners have made a last minute push for legal funds before a "David and Goliath" battle with developers.

The Stone Path Meadow Residents Group, of Hatfield Peverel, are opposing plans for 140 homes which will be considered at a hearing by a planning inspector next month.

The group have urged developers not to build on the greenfield site, and to use brownfield land available instead.

Kevin Dale of the Stone Path Meadow Residents Group said land is available next to the station which developers could use.

He said: "The Stonepath Meadow Residents Group want to put the residents' views forward at the inquiry and so we are seeking funds for legal advice on preparing evidence to submit by the late November deadline."

Gladman Developments Ltd applied in October to build 140 homes, of which 40 per cent will be affordable housing, on land south of Stonepath Drive, Hatfield Peverel.

Mr Dale said: "The parish has been working with Braintree council in its neighbourhood plan.

"We have helped to identify and allocate a brownfield site onto which these can be built, which is actually three times bigger than the greenfield site.

"Building on this instead would be better for the both of us, developers, residents already living here and the residents who are going to be living in these homes."

Mr Dale said the legal fund will be used for solicitors to look over documents presented at the inquiry next month.

He said: "The site is not greenbelt but it is a former area of landscape value, a greenfield site.

"But our main point will be that there is perfectly adequate brownfield site next to the train station, which not a fantasy as this can be done.

"It would be unthinkable if they won, our village would jut right out into the countryside.

"I couldn't think of a prettier site, and that's why we are going into a David and Goliath style battle with these developers."

The resident group is aiming to raise £4,000 which will be spent on solicitor fees at the appeal next month.

Witham MP Mrs Patel spoke in support of the resident group and said she hopes the district will keep its green spaces.

She said: “The whole of Hatfield Peverel has come together to campaign to defend our green spaces from unacceptable over-development.

“A fantastic team of residents have voluntarily put in many hours of hard work to oppose these applications.

"They have checked every word of every line of the case from the applicants and are fighting back with great intelligence and passion.”

The group have raised over £2,000, though this is less than their original target of £4,000 for legal funds.

Mrs Patel addressed a full church hall in Hatfield Peverel on Saturday to support a fundraising quiz in aid of the campaign to prevent development taking place.

Mrs Patel said: "It was wonderful to see the hall packed with people coming to the quiz to help raise funds.

"The local community is up against promoters and developers with deep pockets, but the case being put forward to oppose these applications is a strong one and I am continuing to support them.”

The inquiry is due to start on Tuesday December 12.