An action group from 90 miles away has offered its support to the Yes4Winslow campaign after its fight against developers made national headlines.
Winslow residents are due to vote on its neighbourhood plan next week but Gladman Developments – which has interests in three sites on the edge of the town – has launched a legal challenge to the referendum.
Although there is expected to be an overwhelming vote in favour of the plan, the ballot papers will have to be torn up if developers succeed in winning an injunction at the administrative court in Manchester on July 22.
The attempt to block the vote has attracted national interest and after reading about Winslow in The Times, an action group from the Midlands has written in support.
Lorraine Matthews is part of action group Save Our Stretton (SOS) which is also campaigning against Gladman.
She says the village on the outskirts of Burton-On-Trent, Staffordshire, does not need the proposed 425 homes from a developer which, she claims ‘boasts’ of its ‘bullying tactics’.
Mrs Matthews has written a letter to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government.
In her letter, she said the action group is ‘cheering on Winslow’ in the hope ‘common sense prevails and democratic rights are upheld’.
She said: “God help us all is all I can muster at the thought of them winning these legal proceedings against Winslow’s referendum.
“Because if Gladman does win, Eric Pickles, you may as well pack up your office and hand Gladman the keys.
“Has this country completely lost the plot? Completely lost all sense of logical reason? Does the Government really have any say in how this country is governed any more? What are we, the constituents voting for?
“We need to stand united against Gladman if any of us stand any chance whatsoever at beating them.”
Vic Otter, treasurer of the Yes4Winslow campaign, has sent the action group a message of thanks and support as well as signing its e-petition against the developers.
Mr Otter will join a 16-strong protest group which will make the 300-mile round trip at a cost of £500 to Manchester for the hearing.
If the injunction is granted, the referendum will not go ahead as planned on July 24.
He said: “Gladman don’t go to public meetings. Instead, it’s ‘we will see you in court’ and with a £200 million turnover, their pockets aren’t quite bottomless, but are certainly significantly deeper than ours.
“Tactically, Gladman don’t want us to vote and it is their legal right but we believe passionately in our democratic right.
“So we are very grateful for Stretton’s moral support and wish them the same good fortune.”
Gladman Developments wants to double the size of Winslow from 2,000 to 4,000 homes.
John Bercow, speaker for the House of Commons and MP for Buckingham, said he shares the ‘dismay that such a situation has been able to arise’.
He said: “I strongly believe the application for judicial review and an interim injunction to halt the progress of the implementation of the Winslow plan should be rejected.
“And I remain hopeful the planned referendum can take place – as planned – on July 24.”