ANGRY residents attending a public meeting last night told council chiefs to abandon plans for a controversial housing development.

Fifty people turned up to quiz Richmondshire District Council on plans for Yorke Square car park, in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Residents and community leaders criticised the council's plans to build 17 flats on the site.

One town resident, Alan Lomax, said: "Car parking in Richmond needs to be maximised not minimised. Please bin this idea and forget all about it."

The council wants to sell the land for housing to raise money for its £4.5m offices in Colburn.

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition against the sale of the site in Richmond to fund the move.

Security guards watched over the meeting in the town's Zetland Centre after senior councillors and officers were heckled and the police were called to a previous meeting.

Last night, Richmond Mayor Stuart Parsons said he was ashamed and disappointed at the council of which he is a member.

He said: "I have to register my disappointment that this council of ours is yet again wasting our money on a consultation exercise that is futile."

Another resident said: "Anything built on this site is wrong and should not happen. This is the thin edge of the wedge. No consideration has been given to residents."

Resident Peter Cardwell said: "Richmondshire District Council has yet to demonstrate the need for development on Yorke Square."

Another woman said the roads around The Green were already congested with traffic and dangerous to children. She said the proposal would make the situation worse.

The meeting was organised before a planning application to be submitted later this year.

Officers said the scheme closely reflected a building which stood on the site until 1957.

Residents say the scheme would reduce town centre parking and restrict views to historic Culloden Tower.

But the council said parking would be kept for 17 cars.

Campaigners fighting the development submitted a solicitor's letter to the council yesterday.

The planning application is due to be submitted in November with the council making a decision next February.