Campaigners fighting to preserve a stretch of land against hundreds of homes have delivered 800 pages of documents ahead of a public inquiry – but say they urgently need financial support.
They say the papers support the case for protected village green status for Bunyards Farm, near Maidstone – not the 435 houses which have outline planning permission.
The bundles were delivered ahead of the deadline for submissions and represent hundreds of hours of work by the pressure group, MERlin (Medway Ecological Riverine Link).
The public inquiry is set to be heard at Kent County Council next month.
Campaigners claim the land has been in common use by dog walkers, kite flyers and berry pickers for decades.
MERlin activists Chris Passmore and Duncan Edwards say their case satisfies all the criteria needed to be classed as a village green.
But they will need a barrister to take on the brief to make their case at the inquiry, headed by Annabel Graham Paul - and reckon it will cost up to £11,000.
To win village green status, MERlin campaigners will have to convince the inspector - herself a barrister specialising in planning law - the public has had unimpeded access to the land, off Beaver Road, Allington, for at least 20 years.
Witnesses will argue they believe it to be common land with no barriers or signs to suggest it is privately-owned farmland.
It is the last stretch of green space between Aylesford and Allington, and already has planning permission for the homes put forward by BDW Trading. Around 40% of the new dwellings would be classed as “affordable”.
With the heavy purse of the developers behind the no campaign, MERlin has previously described the contest as a David and Goliath battle.
Mr Passmore, Mr Edwards and other campaigners have spent hundreds of hours compiling the case under the Commons Act of 2006.
Mr Edwards said: “Whilst the team have put in hundreds of hours of work, a positive outcome is far from certain, and we urgently need financial support to ensure that we can get the very best legal advice possible.”
Mr Passmore added: “This is the very last opportunity for many thousands of houses in west Maidstone to be able to walk to a natural open space which is so critical to all our wellbeing.
“We only now have a few weeks before the inquiry to get the highly technical advice we need and your contributions to our Just Giving page – Save Bunyards Farm could make all the difference.”
The four-day public inquiry will be in County Hall in Maidstone from Tuesday, March 19 to Friday, March 22.
The claim is disputed by the owners, currently the Andrew Cheale Will Trust, who will argue at the inquiry the land has been fenced off in the past 20 years.
The campaigners have the support of the local MP Helen Grant.
They have raised just over £1,000 so far.