The villagers of Balloch are gearing up to fight proposals by Highland Council to build 312 homes on farm land near their village.
The council wants to build a new estate of affordable homes, to be known as Chapelton, on fields east of the city, owned by the Goodbody Trust.
Villagers are protesting the loss of woodland, fields and wildlife and citing pressure on already struggling infrastructure and services, and increased traffic in their range of objections.
They also say a large development will take away their village’s unique identity.
Residents Melanie Smith and Steve and Cath Bunn have launched a website, Balloch Save Our Green Space raising awareness of the situation and urging people to lodge their objections.
Mrs Smith, who has a background in ecology and conservation biology, said the community was also considering exploring a community buy-out of the land.
She said: “The community could have an interest in purchasing all or some of the land and we need to have time in order to pull together the wherewithal to put forward a case and a different proposal from what the council put forward.
“Green space can mean a number of things and one of the real values of those fields is the landscape and agricultural value, it’s really important.
Balloch community council chairman Ian Williams said at a recent meeting a wide variety of local views were discussed.
He said: “We are objecting on grounds of questioning the need for development on that site.
“We need to see more justification as to why they need to build those houses in that area, when there is so much other land that’s still available, which hasn’t been developed yet and is zoned for housing.
“If that justification is forthcoming, we then want to see slightly reduced density of housing to bring it in line with most of Balloch, and more of the land given over to the community with plans of how to manage it.
“We’ve got a lot of questions that we’ll go back to the council with, but it all depends on them justifying the need to build on that land.”
A Highland council spokesman said: “A planning application has been lodged on an area of land which is currently used for agricultural purposes but is designated as grey land or unallocated land in the Inner Moray Firth local development plan.
“Officers are currently considering the application with a view to taking a report to the south planning application committee in due course.
“The current owners of the site are in support of the application.”