Defiant residents say they are doing all they can to stop open space being developed after a 'valuable' community site was put up for sale.
Neighbours on the Quantock Drive estate in Ashford want to designate a plot of land close to the town's Sainsbury's as a new ‘village green’.
It comes as auctioneers prepare to sell off the plot – which runs alongside Simone Weil Avenue – later today.
The current owners – Greenfurb Limited – are advertising the site as two separate lots, with a third on the other side of Quantock Drive, next to a play area, also available.
All three have a guide price of £5,000-plus and 'have a potential for a variety of uses', according to Auction House London, which will be selling the plots.
But Pauline Lowman, 71, who has lived on the estate for more than 50 years, says residents have joined forces in a bid to block any development.
"It would affect mental health, dog walking, play areas for children, air and noise pollution, the traffic on that road," she said.
"Also if the area is removed, it would mean people using their cars to get to open spaces, therefore creating more pollution.
"The people of the estate are united in the need to stop the development of our green; it's felt the sale has been kept quiet to stop any protest being arranged."
Earlier this month, about 120 people attended a meeting at the site including three councillors – Ashford Borough Council deputy leader Cllr Paul Bartlett (Con), Cllr Andrew Buchanan (Con) and Cllr Euan Anckorn (Lab).
Cllr Bartlett, who also sits on Kent County Council, says he is keen for the space to remain as a local amenity.
If village green status is granted, development of the land would not be allowed.
"We have now submitted an application to KCC to have the site designated as a village green," Cllr Bartlett said.
"I was surprised to find out that it was on the market. It's too valuable to the community as an amenity land and it's therefore impossible to consider the building of homes on it.
"I think we need to approach this with a great deal of caution and ensure we protect the land for residents' use.
"I think it's wrong that it can now be put at risk for development because it would damage the quality of life for residents."
Although the village green bid only covers the land running alongside Simone Weil Avenue, Cllr Bartlett says the site next to the play area could also be protected at a later date.