Protesters take to streets
Protesters held a march to confront council leaders over plans for hundreds of homes in their village.
Opponents of a £250 million scheme to build 2,500 homes in Barwell took their fight directly to Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, which will decide on the plans.
Hundreds of marchers waved placards and banners, with some sounding hunting horns, as they paraded through Hinckley town centre to the council offices in Argents Mead on Tuesday night.
They are angry at the Liberal Democrat-controlled council's support for the scheme, despite opposition from 96 per cent of villagers who voted in a referendum this year.
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Campaigner Rob Taylor, 58, who lives next to the proposed site, off Kirkby Road, said: "This will double the size of the village at a stroke.
"Its road infrastructure, with very narrow old streets, will not be able to cope. Consultation is supposed to be a two-way street but there has been no dialogue.
"Our message is we will not be ignored and we will not stay quiet."
The protest was organised to coincide with a meeting of the full council, with campaigners calling on council leader Stuart Bray to come out and answer their questions.
Huw Williams, 50, of Charnwood Road, Barwell, who helped organise the protest, said: "We had somewhere between 350 and 400 people attending the demonstration.
"We've invited Councillor Bray to visit the village on numerous occasions to talk to ordinary people about the development.
"He won't come, so we went to him. This Liberal Democrat council has made it clear they will not take any notice of the people of Barwell."
The site lies on 325 acres of farmland between Barwell and Stapleton.
The planning application, by a consortium consisting of Ainscough Strategic Land, Barwood Development Securities and Taylor Wimpey, includes a school, health centre, shops and business units.
Coun Bray read a statement to protesters sitting in the public gallery, which was relayed on a video screen to those gathered in the foyer and by loud speaker to demonstrators outside.
He said: "Whatever may be said to the contrary, the plain fact is that this Government and its predecessor have driven and expect economic growth based on increased housing numbers.
"As local authorities we have little, if any, choice in the matter.
"By linking housing development with the provision of infrastructure, we will be able to deliver both as one depends on the other."