SCORES of people packed into a public meeting to oppose the potential development of more than 700 homes.

Harnham Neighbourhood Association and around 150 residents joined forces on Wednesday to discuss Wiltshire Council’s draft proposal for 740 homes along Netherhampton Road.

Frances Howard, chairman of the neighbourhood association said the meeting was an opportunity to inform residents about the consultation and spur on those who had yet to cast their opinion.

“We need to get this consultation seriously underway, it is going to run out on September 22 and we need to get going,” said Miss Howard.

“It has been done over the summer holidays when everybody else is thinking about holidays but we need to get thinking back to Harnham matters.”

Villagers agreed that the scale of the houses and the knock on effect on the village’s infrastructure was the main issue if Wiltshire Council allocates the site for hundreds of homes.

One resident said: “It just can’t happen without blighting the local area.”

Matthew Brignall of the neighbourhood association added that if the houses were given the go ahead it would turn Salisbury into an urban city.

He said: “We will be turning Salisbury in Welwyn Garden City or a suburb of Birmingham. Do we want it to be like Southampton Road, they have ruined that – this is not the answer.”

Residents also argued that the authority should consider locating the houses where infrastructure is already in place.

One villager said: “Why not look at these places where there is some infrastructure scheme in place like a bus route, where there are a number of roads and bike routes.

“This makes more sense to me, my concern with this site is the lack of infrastructure and that infrastructure is not going to be built."

The meeting was attended by Wiltshire councillor for Harnham Brian Dalton, along with city councillors Sven Hocking and Simon Jackson.

Cllr Hocking inferred that the people of Salisbury should be grateful that the number of houses is only in the hundreds as elsewhere in the county it is proposed that thousands of new homes will be built.

He said: “We think we have got some issues down here, it is nothing compared to what is going on further in the county.”

But Cllr Dalton said that the draft plan was the biggest issue that he had been contacted about since was elected.

"I think this is probably the biggest local issues I’ve ever been contacted about, we have never had so many houses proposed around us,” Cllr Dalton said.

“Certainly Netherhampton Road that is causing the biggest consternation – it doesn’t actually come into the Harnham ward but the traffic will.”

One villager insisted that Salisbury should take some of the burden to build more houses for those in need.

He said: “What we also have to face is there is also a massive housing crises in our country and also in Salisbury – there are people living in substandard accommodation.

“We must try and do something, people need housing and we have to try and help them, I am very lucky I can afford my own home but I want other people to be housed and have somewhere to live.”