THE potential of a huge housing development that could more than double a village’s population has been dubbed a ‘crime against the environment’.

In August Bracknell Forest Council published a 250 page report which identified land that could be built on as part of the Local Plan, a document that outlines the development strategy of the borough up to 2036.

While the document did not determine whether sites would be chosen in a preferred options plan published later this or next year, residents of Winkfield Row have begun pre-emptively protesting about the highlighting of a 60 hectare parcel of grazing land that could potentially hold 938 homes.

If the land west of Braziers Lane is developed in such a way, it would increase the 650 home Winkfield Row to 1,600.

In a bid to nip the build in the bud, a petition which has so far gained more than 1,500 signatures has been set up.

Petition signatory Helen McBride said: “I grew up in the area, and it’s a special, peaceful community. It would completely ruin the area.

“There are ever increasing developments, destroying the character of our country. Find somewhere else to ruin.”

Ron McAllister agreed, adding that the development would turn Winkfield Row into an “urban sprawl and it would completely lose its semi-rural character.”

Jonathan Hayter said: “This is a crime against the environment and nature to develop for profit and for gain.”

Although Winkfield Row residents have reacted early and coordinated their efforts, those from other areas identified are unlikely to remain inactive.

The council document estimates Binfield could fit 1,071 more homes in its parish boundaries, Sandhurst 692, Warfield 2,546 and Bracknell 1,326.

Max Baker, the council’s head of planning said: "The Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment is a list of sites that have been identified as having potential to meet the Borough’s future housing needs.

“The council will need to decide which of these sites - and any others that subsequently become available - are the most suitable for this purpose. No decision has yet been made, and there will be public consultation on proposed sites before any decisions are made, as well as a public examination by an independent inspector before any future plan can be finalised.”