The protest group trying to stop the 1,000 home development at Sandleford in Newbury says the Government’s decision to allow planning permission is entirely political.

Dr David Cooper of Say No to Sandleford says the government’s over ruling of West Berkshire Council’s rejection of the scheme is down to developers Bloor Homes being a substantial donor to the Tory party.

John Bloor, 77, a director of Bloor Homes who has a £1.3billion personal fortune, is one of the Conservative party’s largest donors.

Reading Chronicle: Dr David Cooper

Dr Cooper has ruled out a High Court appeal from the group, saying ‘we only have £350 in the bank, so we can’t afford it.’

Outline planning permission for more than 1,000 homes, a new primary school and parkland is now given, although detailed planning consent on the make up of those homes and various access points is yet to be determined.

Local residents said they were ‘pleased a decision had finally been taken’, but others were ‘saddened’ and ‘angry’ about the loss of the green open space and ancient woodlands.

The Bloor Homes section of the site is to the north of the plot allocated for around 2,400 homes by West Berkshire Council in 2010.

The site has two other large housing developments pending.

Among those objecting to development of the site was the Watership Down author Richard Adams who spoke out about the proposals before his death five years ago.

Developers have been trying to build at the site since it was allocated for development in 2012 with five failed applications so far.

In the iconic novel, rabbits flee Sandleford Warren, which is about to be destroyed by bulldozers.

Thousands of fans flock to the site in Hampshire each year to follow in the footsteps of the novel's gang of rabbits.

And in a real-life echo of the fictional children's classic, protesters have been fighting development and said protected habitats and ancient woodlands would be at risk if it was allowed to go ahead.

Adams, who grew up in the area, raised concern that the green fields and woodland which inspired his book were at risk of disappearing forever.

He said: "It is my firm belief that to build on the quiet meadows of Sandleford would be an ugly invasion, a nasty wound to one of the loveliest retreats in all Berkshire and Hampshire.

"I understand that houses need to be built, and that people need homes to live in.

"But any dispassionate examination of the situation leads to the emphatic conclusion that this land should not be built on.

"If Sandleford goes for development, it will be the thin end of the wedge.