Campaigners are urging villagers to stop development on a patch of Green Belt land that they say could open the flood gates for future plans.

People in Theydon Bois say the application for a partially underground, grass-roofed house at Coppice Farm goes against rules protecting open space, but developers have defended its ‘low-impact’ eco-friendly design.

David McKelvey, chairman of Theydon Bois Action Group, has called for anyone against the plans to attend Epping Forest District Council’s planning meeting on January 30, where they are due to be passed.

He said: “It’s Green Belt land and it should not be built on – full stop.

“We find it incredible that this has been recommended for approval because it should not be built on.

“As soon as there is any variation in how the Green Belt is treated, the doors open and we’ve got to keep the doors shut.

“If we open the door to this, God knows what’s going to happen in the future.”

He said members of his group were also unhappy that district councillors representing the village had abstained from voting on the plans at a previous meeting.

Estate agent John Sear, whose family owns the disused farm, has applied for permission to build the home and has said he wants it to have as low an impact on neighbours as possible.

Architect Martyn Pattie has said the fact that the plans would mean the removal of empty farm buildings and the house would be partly underground would improve the Green Belt.

The meeting is due to take place on Wednesday next week at the district council’s Epping High Street offices from 7.30pm.