Campaigners fighting to save Halesowen green belt from developers have branded attempts to play down the ecological impact as “greenwash.”

The Friends of Coombeswood group say plans from St Modwen’s to move Coombs Wood Sports and Social Club onto fields which form part of the Coombs Wood Green Wedge will ruin the natural habitat for birds including rare skylarks.

They rejected a report by the firm, which was presented at a second public exhibititon held on Monday, which claims their project will actually improve the green space for other species.

Speaking after the exhibition, which was attended by more than 200 residents, Friends group spokesperson Sue Yeadon also criticised St Modwen’s refusal to hold a formal public meeting.

Sue said: “I don’t think they adressed any of the problems they just glossed over them with PR speak, it’s a “greenwash”.

“The meeting was not in the format we would have liked, we wanted to sit down and put the questions to them.

“We are very disappointed.”

As part of the plan 80 new homes would be built on the cricket club’s current home while new sports facilities would be provided at nearby Olive Hill primary school.

The three applications are likely to be submitted to Dudley council later this month.

Friends group member Simon Webster said: “Essentially their plan will see more people come into the area with less green space.

“St Modwen’s figures on scale are very conservative, you are talking about losing a quarter of the green wedge.

“All this meeting has been is more detail on the green washing.”

Residents living near the cricket club’s current ground also voiced concerns over the access to any new housing site and the impact on road safety.

Ecologist John Box, speaking on behalf of St Modwen, admitted the developements would cause a slight impact to skylarks’ territory but said it would not affect their nesting.

He added: “Currently the grassland is unmanaged but we will be able to change that and attract more species.”

Richard Halderthay, spokesperson for PR firm Green Issues who are now representing St Modwen, said they were pleased with the attendance at the exhibition.

He said: “People have been raising all kind of issues and most of them have been of a conservative nature.

“They have brought up things we will take on board.”