A LEADING conservationist has joined the row about plans for a new community hall for the village of Garway.

Stephen Clarke has joined the debate in what has become known as "the Battle of Garway" by condemning plans to build a community hall on the village common.

"The common is as important as any listed building or scheduled monument that should be defended until the end by the people of Garway," said Mr Clarke, who is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Member of the Institute of Field Archaeologists.

"The very large building that is proposed would immediately alter the character of the village and its unique green.

"Any development on the common could conceivably lead to its eventual destruction."

Joan Fleming-Yates, secretary of the OWEN Group that is campaigning to prevent the building, welcomed the intervention of Mr Clarke in the debate.

She claimed there were also issues surrounding building on common land that went back to the Domesday Book and questions that needed to be resolved about the ownership of the land.

"We are not against a community hall for the village but the common is not the place for it to be built," she said.

At a recent public meeting, Paul Brice, architect and agent for the application to build the hall, said the common was the best site available for the facility for Garway, which is home to 300 people.