OVER 100 opponents of plans to develop a 'green lung' in the centre of Malvern showed up to make their feelings clear at a public meeting this week.

The meeting was set up by the Pickersleigh Residents Group to oppose plans to build up to 150 houses on fields off Hayslan Road.

And Jeff Williams, the group's chairman, said he was delighted with the turn-out on a cold wet night, at a time of year

when many are on holiday.

He said: "It was a good lively meeting with lots of interesting things being said. We're raising money to pay for professional help in our struggle, and we collected £280 in a bucket on the night, and we're also getting cheques through the post.

"We had a cheque for £10 from one lady, and she said she wished she could send more, but she couldn't afford it. Our membership has doubled to 300."

Development company Barwood wants to build on the field owned by girls' school Malvern St James, which was a playing field many years ago.

It is well used by the local community for dog-walking, informal recreation and as a pedestrian route to the town centre.

The field is one of a number which form a green space near the centre of Malvern. It is currently zoned at open space, but Barwood has asked Malvern Hills District Council to review that status.

Mr Williams said: "The first phase of our campaign is to oppose that suggestion, and we've sent 70 letters and our e-petition is nearing the 1,000-signature target.

"The council is expected to discuss it at its meeting on September 30 and we're told the report will be published about ten days before that."

The group is also gearing up for the second phase of its campaign, which is to oppose Barwood's planning application, expected to be made some time in September.

Its website is at hayslanfields.org.uk, and it has also made a YouTube video promoting its cause, which can be found for searching for Mlavern, Hayslan.