Outraged residents from a picturesque village where thousands of homes are set to be built have hit out at plans, they claim, will ruin their rural idyll.
Under revised plans put to West Lothian Council, developers want to build housing around a pond and country walk at Glendevon Farm on the fringes of Winchburgh.
The 37-home development managed by Stewart Milne Group would also involve a major access road metres from the retreat.
The proposal, submitted last month, has angered residents amid claims changes have been passed without any direct public consultation. Horse owners, dog lovers, ramblers and cyclists use the area daily.
A crisis meeting held at Winchburgh Community Centre on Wednesday night was attended by more than 40 residents, with plans to formally oppose the development discussed.
Mother-of-two Karen Newton, 44, said: “They want to build a main road through this farm – streets with a pathway and street lighting. It’ll only be about five metres from the pond, and we’re going to have lorries trundling up and down the road.
“The council are looking to allow the developers to build brand new spanking houses overlooking the pond to make money. It will be detrimental to the community of Winchburgh, who for generations have been using this as a lovely walkway for picnics. It’s heartbreaking.”
Previous plans involved fewer houses, no properties facing directly on to the water and an alternative, smaller access road.
Winchburgh councillor Janet Campbell said: “This pond has migrating birds and ducks on it, which are rare. In effect, it [the plans] will change what is a rural, idyllic spot in West Lothian from what’s virtually a nature reserve into any old street.”
Residents have already had to come to grips with Winchburgh being at the heart of one of the biggest village developments in Britain.
The overall £1 billion development plan would involve the construction of 3450 homes.
The council has extended the public comment period on the Stewart Milne development by two weeks in a bid to meet residents’ concerns.
A council spokesman said formal notices had been sent out to all immediate neighbours.
“We have fulfilled the statutory requirement in terms of publicity, as well as a number of additional steps to give locals residents the chance to find out more about the proposals and share their views,” he said.