Campaigners urge others to join protest march against major industrial development on green belt land near Northampton

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Villagers fighting plans by Howdens Joinery to build a large-scale industrial site on green belt land west of J15 of the M1 have issued a rallying call for people to join their protest march.

Residents from Milton Malsor, Blisworth, Colintree and Roade will meet in their respective parishes just after 10am on Sunday before walking to a rendezvous point at the site of the proposed development.

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Jan Collins, parish councillor for Milton Malsor is organising the event, she said: “We will meet at the site itself to talk about the plans because in this case, seeing really is believing.

“It would be fabulous if we could get 50 people along, this is the start of our awareness raising campaign.”

MP for Daventry Chris Heaton-Harris has told residents that he will try to join them on Sunday. He has made no firm statement either for or against the development but organisers feel that his willingness to come along and listen to the discussion is positive.

The proposed Howdens development would occupy one third of Milton Malsor parish and would see 2.67 million square feet of warehousing and other industrial units, the equivalent of two O2 stadiums, built on what is currently open countryside.

Initial consultations resulted in about 400 people writing to South Northamptonshire Council opposing the proposals which go against the agreed neighbourhood plan for Milton Malsor, the parish in which it is located.

One concerned local resident, who preferred not to be named, said: “It’s frightening, absolutely frightening, it would be 60 feet high.”

He added: “We are all for employment, of course we must have it, but thereare more appropriate places for it.”

The potential development is particularly contentious because it sits just miles from land already earmarked for future industrial use in the West Northants Joint Core Strategy which was agreed in December 2014.

Parish councillor Jan Collins added: “Given that there are areas of land already identified for such developments we see no reason why they couldn’t be used instead.

“There is an awful lot of green land in that area and the real fear is that once one planning application is approved it could just be the start.”

A formal decision on the planning application was initially expected in June but has now been pushed back to July.