An action group has been formed to fight plans by the Bowood Estate to build homes on a former nursery site at Studley.

Residents were informed of the proposals, which have not yet been submitted to Wiltshire Council, about ten days ago and many are concerned about the impact it could have on their hamlet.

A consultation meeting to tell villagers about the project has been held at Lansdowne Hall, Derry Hill.

But action group member Janet Robbins fears the initial plan for 28 homes could be the first phase of a much larger scheme at Blounts Court Nursery, Studley Lane.

She said: “The plans include an open-ended road, so at the moment we are looking at 28 houses. But soon after we could be faced with another 50 to 60.

“We are concerned what this will mean for Studley because we are a small hamlet; we don’t have shops or pubs.”

The action group was formed after Mrs Robbins, of Studley Corner, gave a presentation at the parish council and 40 people have already joined up.

She said: “We don’t want to make concrete objections at the moment, because the application has not been submitted, but we want to prevent it from getting to this stage because we know that it is difficult to get decisions overturned at appeal.”

Bowood Estate manager Charles Leather said: “This is the start of consultation, so we can tell the community about possible plans.

“One of the options is for a small residential development of about 25 homes. Planning permission already exists for a garden centre.”

He said the meeting had been called by the trustees of the Reversioners Trust and Lord Lansdowne was not directly involved, as he was not a trustee.

He said any money made from a development would be used to safeguard the future of the Bowood Estate.

In 2005, villagers in nearby Derry Hill were furious when Lord Lansdowne was given permission to build 50 homes there after a planning dispute that ended when the government overruled the former North Wiltshire District Council’s decision to refuse permission.

Protesters claimed the scheme could drive people from the village. Lord Lansdowne attended one of planning meetings and faced 150 irate villagers at a meeting in the village to discuss the homes.