HUNDREDS of protesters marched across green-belt land near Keynsham that could be used for new homes after handing in protest letters to council leaders. More than 850 letters have already been written against the outline plan to put 83 houses on the land at Williams Close, Longwell Green. ATA (Longwell Green) has submitted a scheme for a mixture of two, three and four-bed houses on the site, of which 29 will be affordable homes. The developers claim there is a significant shortfall of new housing in South Gloucestershire, which has to be made up in coming years. They said South Gloucestershire Council had been unable to show a five-year supply of sites, something the council denies, providing special circumstances for allowing building on what is protected land. But those opposed to the loss of the predominantly agricultural site are fighting the application and handed in their letters to the council leader, John Calway. They also walked across one of the rights of way that crosses the field. Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore, who has already raised the threat to the green belt in his constituency in the House of Commons, said he was staggered at the turn-out. He said: "The scale of the protest was fantastic." The council has cross-party agreement to build 21,500 homes by 2026 and to protect the green belt. In a Parliamentary debate on the controversial and now doomed South West regional spatial strategy –under which 33,000 homes could have been forced on the district – Mr Skidmore welcomed the abolition of the blueprint by the coalition Government. He said its axing "cannot come soon enough" as the green belt was still under threat from speculative planning applications.