Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman has backed a campaign to prevent 44 affordable homes being built on a paddock in Ross-on-Wye.

Offering support and advice to the Hawthorne Fields Action Group (HFAG), Mr Norman said: “This is a highly unusual situation in which approval has been given on appeal in the face of opposition, not just from locals but also Ross Town Council and Herefordshire Council.

“I am concerned that the decision didn’t pay adequate regard to the local environmental and traffic impact, the neighbourhood plan, and sewage and drainage. Working with residents, I will be exploring every opportunity to have this decision reconsidered.”

As we reported last month, Gloucester-based developer E G Carter & Co successfully appealed against Herefordshire Council’s refusal of its plans to build 44 one- and two-storey homes off Middleton Avenue to the southwest of the town.

The neighbourhood plan had allocated the site for housing, but only for 15 homes coupled with public green space.

The town council last month formally complained to the Planning Inspectorate, saying that by ignoring the neighbourhood plan it had "created open season over all future development within the town".

HFAG member Dai Harries told Mr Norman that the planning inspector’s granting of approval was based partly on Herefordshire Council being unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land.

However on the same day as his decision, the council announced that it could in fact show a 6.9-year housing land supply, meaning the neighbourhood plan should have been given greater weight, he said.

Mr Norman replied: “In my experience, people don’t object to new housing where they are consulted and local standards met.”

HFAG had looked at taking the case to a judicial review at the High Court, but considered the likely £14-18,000 cost prohibitive, its spokesperson Phil Angus said.

John Gregory, who lives with wife Lindy on neighbouring Hawthorne Lane, said that, given past problems with flooding in the area: “We are scared we will just get washed away.”

He added: “The developers have said they are dealing with the issue, but we don’t know how.”

E G Carter & Co was approached for comment.