Plans to build an eco-friendly residential development for the retired overlooking the historic Farthing Downs have provoked fierce opposition from residents living near the proposed site.

A committee of seven campaigners living on and near the site on Downs Road in Coulsdon, have formed a committee to speak up for around 50 residents who claim the size, appearance and purpose of the development are incompatible with the surrounding area.

Houses on the road are up to 100 years old and are near an Anglo-Saxon burial ground.

The Action Against Downs Road Development committee has sent written objections to Croydon Council,, as have nearby stables.

The Corporation of London, which has owned Farthing Downs since the 19th Century, has asked the council to ensure the open space is protected.

The committee claims developer Leo McAteer, who already owns and runs care and nursing homes on the site, would need to knock down three detached Edwardian houses, fell several trees including lime and chestnut, and damage hedgerows to make way for 25 apartments, 12 nursing care units and a town house.

But Mr McAteer believes disruption to the immediate environment would be offset by numerous forward thinking, energy saving features, including solar power, battery operated cars, renewable heat energy from water and a roof-top vegetable garden.

Committee member, Graham Smith, who lives next-door but-one, stressed the committee is in support of the Beddington Zero Energy principle from which Mr McAteer's idea is derived and which the council hopes to use as inspiration for future schemes in Croydon, and accepts there is a need for more homes for the elderly.

But he added: "We do feel that a construction of this magnitude four houses connected by glass structures is totally out of context with the road and its amenities.

"There are other areas that are closer to the amenities on the high street which could be developed and which would be easier for the elderly to walk to and from.

"On this location their journey back would be up a dangerously narrow hill."

The plans account for only 17 parking spaces, which Mr Smith also believes is inadequate provision for staff, patients, ambulances and visitors.

He also fears increased traffic on the road would put children and pets at risk.

A council spokesman confirmed the matter would be decided at a committee meeting in the new year.