A RESIDENTS’ action group has started fundraising for legal costs as villagers continue their campaign against new homes on their doorstep.

The Housing Action by Residents of Tollesbury (Hart) group campaigned against a proposal for 90 new homes on Mell Road which was refused last month.

More than 1,500 objection letters were posted on the council website, without a single letter of support.

Now, the group is starting to raise money for legal fees and advice in case the developer decides to appeal against the refusal.

Hart said: “In order for us to fight Gladman’s subsequent appeal we may need to have our arguments represented before HM Government’s Planning Inspectorate and this may mean hiring a specialist planning lawyer to act on our behalf.

“The good news is that Gladman can be defeated by a well-organised and well-presented case being made to the Planning Inspectorate.

“We’re even attending some other appeals to familiarise ourselves with the process.

“The bad news is that protecting our village will come at some considerable cost.

“We know from our friends in Clavering, Danbury and Thaxted that fighting an appeal will cost tens of thousands.

“They were able to raise the majority of this through crowd-funding and pledges from residents.”

The group recently hosted a Christmas dance in the village’s Masonic Hall to raise money.

In the New Year they will be holding a quintet concert, quiz nights, homemade Easter hat competition, and a wheelbarrow race.

Hart added: “If we raise funds and they’re not needed for an appeal after all, we’ll be donating it to good causes in Tollesbury.”

“We fully expect Gladman to lodge an appeal though – they have six months to do that – so we’re now reviewing the council’s report.

“It will be more hard work, but we’re ready for it.

“We have a strong core team and Tollesbury is a tremendously supportive village.”

n To find out more, visit hartollesbury.com.