Traffic came to a standstill as shoppers and business owners cheered on walkers protesting against plans for a major new housing development in Newent.

The walk, organised by the the Future Newent community group, saw residents, three tractors, a bugler and a drummer walk through the town on Saturday (September 9) to protest plans for 375 new homes on land south of Gloucester Street.

The walk started at the top of town at the junction of the B4215 and B4221.

“The B4215 is one of the busiest B roads in the country,” said Jeff Steers, one of the walk’s organisers.

Ledbury Reporter: Protestors make their way through townProtestors make their way through town (Image: Future Newent)

“This junction is already a traffic black spot. Many of the residents of the proposed new development will head this way towards Ross, Ledbury or Hereford, or to access the M50.

“The developer has no proposals for mitigating the problems the extra journeys will cause.”

Walkers then headed to the town centre.

Future Newent member and former town mayor Christine Howley said: “Though we’ve had several great new businesses open up in recent months, over 10% of our town centre units are still empty.

“The new development proposes a ‘local centre’ of small retail units which will be in direct competition with our town centre shops.

Ledbury Reporter: A bugler taking part in the protestA bugler taking part in the protest (Image: Future Newent)

“Times are still hard for small businesses and we can’t expect our town centre to thrive if we open up another retail centre less than a mile away.

“Many people in the town are crying out for a supermarket here, but that’s not part of the proposal.”

The walk then headed up Gloucester Street to finish at the entrance to the proposed new development, between Newent’s sewage works and chicken factory.

“Thankfully there’s no smell up here today, but the developers’ own air quality consultants have identified that many homes on the proposed new site will regularly be subject to smells which they describe as ‘Rotten, Acrid and very unpleasant’,” said group member Judith Steers.

READ MORE: Newent residents to protest plans for 375 new homes in town

“If the development goes ahead we would lose acres of productive farmland, miles of mature hedgerows and dozens of veteran trees.

“Our planning authority, the Forest of Dean District Council is supposed to promote sustainable development which benefits the local community.

“This development is unsustainable and could have a major negative effect on our community. So we are asking the planning authority to refuse permission.”

Newent Town Council voted unanimously to oppose the application and are looking to engage planning experts to identify the most robust grounds for rejection.

Future Newent are hosting a public meeting on Saturday, September 16 at 11am, at Picklenash School.