CAMPAIGNERS are preparing for a big legal battle over controversial plans to build 4,000 homes in the countryside.

The Save Jealott’s Hill group has launched a fundraiser to help them take on proposals to add new homes and a new science park at 240 hectares of green belt land at Jealott’s Hill in Warfield.

Proposed in co-operation with the multi-national chemicals company Synenta, the council is aiming to build the homes alongside schools and health centres by 2049.

But Save Jealott’s Hill chiefs are now raising funds in order to secure professional planning and legal representing to challenge the authority when it publishes revised proposals as part of its draft local plan in the coming weeks.

The move is the latest step in the campaign’s opposition to the proposals, with a petition against the plans which included more than 4,600 signatures handed to Bracknell Forest Council and Syngenta in November 2020.

READ MORE: Next version of plan featuring 4,000 homes proposal set to be published

Speaking at the launch of the fundraising effort, Charles Griffiths, Treasurer of the Campaign Committee, said: “Over the past twelve months we have been heartened by the enthusiasm of the local opposition to this deplorable proposal and by the growth in the support we have seen.

“Now is the moment of truth, however, as we prepare to face down the Council, Syngenta and Syngenta’s partners all of whom stand to make a fortune at the expense of the local environment and the local community.

“There is no legal aid or state funding to help us so, like all local community groups fighting to save the local environment, we depend on the generosity and public spirit of our local community.

“We have an initial funding target of £25,000 to be secured by the end of March and at least a further £25,000 will be required by mid-summer.

“We have only this one opportunity to stop the destruction of a significant piece of Green Belt in our area.

READ MORE: Petition against plans for 4,000 homes submitted

“It would be terrible if local people held back from contributing in the hope that someone else will do it for them.

“If the result goes against us because we did not mount the strongest possible defence of our precious open space, it will be too late to wish we had done more.

“We face a Goliath of vested interests in going up against Bracknell Forest, Syngenta and their developers.

“Whilst there is no guarantee of success, there is a clear guarantee of failure if we do not have the funds to mount a professional challenge.”

The fundraising page can be viewed here.

READ MORE: Responses to plans for 4,000 homes revealed

According to the fundraising page, more than £1,400 has been raised already.

Back in 2019, BFC planning chief Andrew Hunter said: "The proposal at Jealott’s Hill seeks to support jobs and economic development opportunities for the borough, whilst also boosting housing supply and providing supporting infrastructure.”

And in August last year, a spokesperson for Syngenta said of the plans: "We believe that what we have proposed has clear benefits for Bracknell Forest and the United Kingdom as a whole bringing jobs, innovation, investment and the chance of long term co-ordinated development of housing and infrastructure in a phased manner."