co-warriors urged to take a stand against green-belt development.
Environmental activists are planning a major demonstration at luxury housebuilder Persimmon Homes' annual general meeting in April.

The plans are contained in an underground newsletter and follow a similar demonstration at the company's AGM last year.

The newsletter is published by the proactive Urban Regeneration and Greenfield Environment Network – or Urgent – which recently occupied the Oxfordshire offices of Bryant Country Homes. Members of the group are also thought to have been behind a raid on the Construction Confederation's offices in March 1998.

The newsletter, distributed to up to 3000 housing protesters around the country, urges activists to take advantage of the Persimmon share transfer forms that accompany the newsletter to attend the AGM.

Urgent member Ali Brown said the aim was to get as many Persimmon shareholders as possible to the meeting.

"Persimmon has a poor record on the green belt. As shareholders, we will be saying we expect to see the company behave much more ethically. If the company had any sense, it would see it has a chance to get a market advantage by building sensible houses on sensible locations, rather than destroying green-belt land." Urgent is strongly opposed to Persimmon's plan to build up to 10 000 new homes on the green belt west of Stevenage in Hertfordshire. "It is a disaster – the single biggest incursion into green-belt land [in Britain]," Brown said.

Persimmon group secretary Geoff Grewer downplayed the threat. He said, as shareholders, the activists had every right to attend the AGM. "We're aware that they may seek to be disruptive. But we're equally determined to ensure the meeting is run properly," he said.

Grewer said that Persimmon would be taking extra security measures, and did not rule out calling the police. He said: "The meeting will be run in an orderly fashion and they will get the opportunity to ask questions. But if they try to disrupt the meeting, we will do whatever is necessary to stop the disruption." Grewer stressed that 50-60% of Persimmon's developments took place on brownfield sites, and said the decision to develop the Hertfordshire green-belt site was taken by the local authority.

"We have never targeted green-belt sites but the government's projected housing demands charge local authorities to find land," he said. "In Stevenage, there isn't sufficient land, so they have to release green-belt land." Environmental groups last week clashed with developers at a public inquiry in Ely, Cambridgeshire. The inquiry is the first of the new examinations piloted by deputy prime minister John Prescott in a bid to diffuse controversy over the target of 5 million new homes by 2016.

The inquiry is considering draft plans to build six towns, creating 200 000 homes.