VILLAGERS say they have been left stunned by a developer who has made repeated requests to bulldoze their homes - even leaving a fruitcake on the doorstep of one house.

A number of residents living on Hundale Road in Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire have received letters and visits from Gladman Developments, asking the villagers to sell them their homes so that if they develop the field behind them, they can build an access road where their houses now stand.

One villager, Peter Raper said they felt "threatened" by the approaches.

Another resident, David Hellawell added: “In one telephone conversation, I was told, “You won’t want to live there with houses backing up to your house. This is your opportunity; sell us your bungalow and find somewhere else to live.”

Four residents are known to have received letters from Gladman, in which they offered to pay them above the current market value of their homes.

One resident was offered 100 per cent of the current market value of their home following assessment by two independent estate agents plus an additional 100 per cent.

Another resident, Noelle Yorke, was offered 100 per cent of the value of her home, plus an additional 35 per cent. Gladman also offered to pay her legal costs if she agree to use a solicitor from a list they had given her.

Some of the letters have been followed up by visits and telephone calls to the residents from Gladman.

One villager even opened her door to discover representatives from Gladman had left her a fruitcake on her doorstep.

David Hellawell said: “I feel as though I’m pushing against a huge ice-berg of a large organisation and I possibly won’t win. But I will take some digging out. It’s my property, I’ve paid for it, it’s my land.

“When the man came to the door I asked him; “where do I move to? I love being here. I have great neighbours, it’s secure, it’s lovely – a really good community”.

No plans have yet been submitted for the land and the site had not yet been accepted for inclusion in Hambleton District Council's new local plan as potentially suitable for housing.

The Northern Echo approached Gladman Developments for a comment, but the company has not responded.