HALESOWEN residents have started a campaign to fight against the development of woodland at the back of their homes which 'is a haven for wildlife' after they were shocked to spot it for sale online.

People living near the site, a former railway embankment between Linnet Close and Haden Hill Road, were horrified to see it is listed as a lot for a National Property Auction next Thursday (October 28).

The 2.07 acre parcel of woodland has a guide price of £75k with sales notes stating it is "thought suitable for a residential scheme of up to 30 units, subject to planning consents."

People living nearby have started a group called 'Residents Against Development of Land between Linnet Close/Haden Hill Road' - the group has a Facebook site with more than 185 members.

Residents of Linnet Close, Coombs Road, Haden Hill Road, Sandringham Road and surrounding neighbours are opposing the planned sale and development of the brownfield site.

They say the land, which is full of "beautiful trees" is a haven for wildlife including badgers, buzzards, foxes, owls, gold finches, bullfinches, greenfinches, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, nuthatch, blackcap, wrens, blackbirds, thrush and other wildlife with the green space one of the reasons why they bought their homes.

Karen Hands, of Coombs Road, who is spearheading the group along with others said: "We didn't realise the land was for sale until one of our members saw it online.

"We don't understand why Permission Homes, which owns the site, is trying to get rid of the land rather than attempting to build homes itself.

"The land is a haven for wildlife - when people are sitting in their gardens it's like being in the countryside.

"We've got videos of badgers using the land. It's a haven for all sorts of wildlife."

The 52-year-old married mum-of-one who works as a supervisor at Holland and Barrett in Halesowen said: "I never even dreamed this would be a possibility."

Another member of the group said losing the trees and wildlife to homes would be "heartbreaking."

Councillor Simon Phipps, who is backing residents, posted on the group's site stating: "I've not seen any planning applications ever submitted for this land, so there is no approval for houses here.

"If one were to be submitted, we all know what the concerns would be including loss of natural habitat, loss of woodland, access and so on.

"I'd be backing the objections on those grounds based on what I can see now.

"I've asked the owners (Persimmon) to let me know why they think 30 properties is suitable to mention in their sale and what evidence this is based on. I've also asked the council for a full list of designations, any environment or wildlife protections on the site and if the council has been contacted about possible development here."

Permission Homes has been contacted for comment.