RESIDENTS in an East Lancashire village have been given a first look at fresh proposals to build 50 new homes on a field rumoured to contain the remains of Civil War soldiers.

Currently the Hammond Ground, sandwiched between Whalley Road and George Lane in Read, is used for sheep grazing.

But according to legal legend those who perished in the Battle of Read Old Bridge in 1643 are buried in or around the rolling field.

Residents living nearby have been given the opportunity to examine outline proposals for the land, which would include 30 bungalows, arranged around a curving spine road.

Blueprints drawn up on behalf of the Trustees of the Hammond Ground went on display at Read and Simonstone Constitutional Club, ahead of a planning application being lodged with Ribble Valley Council.

Joyce Beveridge, who used to live locally, said: "It's already nearly impossible to get out onto Whalley Road and this isn't going to make life any easier.

"The village doesn't really need another 50 homes and I think this site should be protected."

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I'm not the sort who just wants to object to everything but you'd be hard pushed to understand how a small place like Read could cope with more development.

Cllr Doreen Collinson, chairman of Read Parish Council, said: "If it all goes ahead Read could well start to become a town. It could have a major impact on the village."

Nearly 30 residents lobbied the last parish council meeting, worried that the homes would be outside the settlement boundary and against the borough's core housing strategy.

In a planning statement, the trustees said: "The development will offer an attractive, very low-density residential extension to the village that has been designed to reflect the character of the area and existing properties in Read."

New areas of public open space are proposed as part of the development alongside a wildflower meadow and new water habitat, fronting onto Whalley Road, as well as 'extensive' landscaping.

Those wanting to forward views before a deadline of March 10 can e-mail or by post to PO Box 204, Clitheroe, BB7 0ET.