HUNDREDS of residents are launching a battle with builders over plans for a heavily-developed estate.

Stockton Borough Council is considering a planning application for 19 homes on an area of dwindling green space in Ingleby Barwick.

Householders are now forming an action group to oppose more plans for executive homes.

The area is heavily developed and houses have quickly risen in the last five years, making it the largest estate in Europe.

Retired police officer John Harrison and his wife Jennifer moved to Newgale Close, in the Roundhill area of Ingleby Barwick, 18 months ago.

He said: "We were told that there would be no development of the area behind our home for the next ten years.

"Then we received a letter informing us about 19 self-build homes.

"We are collecting a list of names from all residents who will be affected by these plans and everyone so far has agreed straight away.

"A constitutional body registered with the council as an action group will have more clout against such plans.

"We will not stand by and let more houses go up in an area of green space which is quickly diminishing."

The applicant submitted outline plans for 19 self-build housing plots and the creation of a country park and local nature reserve.

A spokesman for Wardell Armstrong, acting on behalf of the applicant, said they are in preliminary discussions with the wildlife trust, who could take over the management of the green space.

The spokeswoman added: "The area of land at the moment has a few boundary hedgerows from former farm land. The applicant is proposing to make this more substantial with mature trees and shrubbery.

"As a nature reserve and country park, there would be controlled access to these areas."

A date has yet to be set for the council's planning committee to hear the application.