Villagers have vowed to continue their fight to protect an old orchard from controversial plans to build seven homes.

The plan was originally turned down by Vale of White Horse District Council but developer Albright Dene Ltd won an appeal after offering to 'offset' the biodiversity loss.

Campaigners appealed that decision but this was dismissed by the Royal Courts of Justice in September.

But villagers say the environmental loss was not considered when the inspector weighed up his decision and believe that priority habitats should not be 'offset'.

Now a residents' group led by biologist Alex Freeman are raising funds for a fresh legal appeal through CrowdJustice.

Ms Freeman said: "I feel strongly that habitats should be protected and priority habitat status gives it legal protection. Unfortunately during the planning process that got misunderstood and they allowed offset, which meant the habitat value wasn't taken into consideration in the decision for the appeal because it had been paid for."

She added: "If we do not stand up for the protection that is supposed to be there, there is no point in having these protections."

Steventon is home to several orchards, the houses along this historic Causeway through the middle of the village used to have orchards behind it.

Ms Freeman said: "A lot of people are worried that now that this orchard is going to have housing on it pretty much they all could get housing on them."

Many of the trees in the orchard on the right hand side were felled, just before a planning application was made.

Although the orchard has been neglected and most of the fruit trees cut down already, residents argue that legally the authorities are obliged to consider habitat restoration, not destruction.

People are able to support the legal battle by helping to fund the case on the CrowdJustice website.

A resident anonymously pledged £50 and wrote on the CrowdJustice page : "I think everyone in this village should be concerned about this loss of heritage of habitat and potential biodiversity loss. This clearly flouts the regulations and should be open to successful legal challenge."

Sally from Steventon also pledged £50 on the CrowdJustice page and said: "I overlook this piece of land, I have fed many hedgehogs and a family of foxes for years now, it is a very special area, deer too, I am extremely concerned about its future."

A spokesperson from Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Whilst the council refused this application, the Planning Inspector did not agree and allowed the appeal.”