Newent residents are set to protest a plan to build 375 homes on the outskirts of town.

Protestors will be walking through the town centre at 11.30am on Saturday, September 9.

And hundreds of people have signed a petition asking Forest of Dean District Council to reject the application.

Developer Robert Hitchins Ltd has submitting plans to develop almost 60 acres of land south of Gloucester Street.

Mark James of Future Newent, the community group organising the protest walk, said the council had set out a “clear and sensible” vision of the development of the town in 2012.

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This plan envisioned 350 new homes for Newent between 2012 and 2026.

“In reality, more than 1,000 new homes have gone up in Newent over the past decade, with little or none of the promised investment in the town,” said Mr James.

“This represents nearly 60% growth over a 10-year period, the fastest rate of growth of any of the forest towns. It’s simply not sustainable.

“We need to find a way to get back on track and saying no to the current proposal will be the first step in that process.”

Residents are concerned the development will put a strain on Newent’s infrastructure and facilitie. They are also worried about the loss of farmland and wildlife habitat.

Air quality for new residents on the site has also been identified as a concern. The site is located between Newent’s sewage works and chicken factory.

“We recognise the need for additional homes for local people,” said Mr James. “But this site, with the loss of green space, few employment opportunities and very limited public transport links is not a sustainable option for providing those homes.

“Better options exist in and around Newent, and in the wider Forest of Dean Area.”

The walk will start at the junction of Broad Street and the Newent Bypass, by the traffic lights at 11.30am on Saturday. Walkers will make their way through the town to the petrol station on Gloucester Street, opposite the proposed entrance to the planned new site.

A public meeting is also planned for Saturday, September 16.

Consultants working on the application said the new estate would provide a range of one to five-bedroom homes, in a development that would be high-quality and sustainable..

"The proposed development will create much needed housing in Newent in a sustainable location whilst improving public access across the site and to the wider pedestrian and cycle network," the planning application's design and access statement said.