Villagers are vowing to stop clay pigeon shooting on private land known as The Ranges in Shepperton.
David Smith, boss of Thames Car Boot Sales, is planning to attract almost 1,000 people to the fields off Chertsey Road for a monthly car boot sale, plus 28 days of clay pigeon shooting a year. Villagers say the 89-acre site site is unsuitable for both the car boot sales and shooting because it’s liable to flooding, is a quagmire in the winter and will bring litter and noise.
Mr Smith claims both attractions will boost local businesses.
Nearly 40 residents have joined an action group and organisers, who don’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals, acknowledge there is nothing they can do to halt the car boot sales, which don’t need planning permission, but hope there are valid grounds for halting the clay pigeon shoots.
Plans include asking Surrey highways chiefs to impose parking restrictions on the streets around the site.
Members have already succeeded in getting Surrey County Council to take down a 5ft high sign at an entrance to the site advertising car boot sales starting in May.
A spokesman for the group said: "It may not prove easy to stop the car boot sales until they cause some sort of ‘nuisance’, but with luck, clay pigeon shoots can be stopped as quickly as those that occurred on land adjoining Sheep Walk a few years ago, with the intervention of locally enforceable noise pollution laws."
More than 100 people attended a Shepperton Residents’ Association meeting on Tuesday last week when Mr Smith outlined his plans for the land.
He was booed and jeered by some members of the public even though he promised to create dog walking and jogging tracks for public use and install proper drainage.
One action group member said after the meeting: "After Mr Smith left, further discussions took place and a request for a show of hands from anyone who liked and wanted these car boot sales and clay pigeon shoots. Not a single hand went up."
Mr Smith said: "It’s clear that no matter what we suggest, people are going to crucify us. Everything we do they are going to be against, but it’s going to happen."