Neighbours have rallied together to protect an 800-year-old farm dubbed the “lungs of Edgware” to save it from becoming a golf course.

Thousands of people have signed a petition to save Bury Farm, Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware, from being leased to private owners to build the golf course.

It first opened in the 1200s and was sold to All Souls College, Oxford, in 1442 - who have now submitted a planning application to Barnet Borough Council to change the use of the land.

The 1,370 strong petition, launched by Broadfields Estate Residents Association, has been backed by Hendon and Golders Green MP Matthew Offord and GLA Member for Barnet Andrew Dismore.

Mr Offord said: “It is as if they are getting rid off Edgware’s jewels. It’s the lungs of Edgware but now it faces an uncertain future - that doesn’t seem fair.”

Even though the land makes up three per cent of Barnet’s greenbelt - it has no protection due to a legal loophole.

Under the proposals, farmer Stuart Hunter could lose 100 of the 200 acres he has leased for the past 15 years - potentially leaving around 70 horses at the farm homeless.

Residents association vice chairman Ralph Simon, 62, said: “At the moment we can walk through here unhindered.

“It’s one of our best assets and it would be a real shame to lose it. I don’t want this to be the end of our farm - it’s a beautiful, picturesque and peaceful patch of greenbelt land.”

The main access road to the golf course will be on the A41 - and there are plans to add a third lane to the two-lane road to include a right-turn facility.

Freelance journalist Ruth Bloomfield, 43, said: “It would cause traffic chaos and turn the road into an absolute nightmare.

“It is a 60mph zone but if they narrow the road to add a third lane, it could cause all kinds of accidents.

“This is not needed here - there are already 21 golf courses in the area.”

Dog walkers, runners and cyclists regularly use the footpath and the area is home to dozens of rare birds, bats, grass snakes, badgers and slow worms.

Since 1975, there have been six failed planning applications on the land - including for a nursery school, a leisure centre, a hypermarket, a hospital and two other golf courses.

Residents association member Leon Malins, of Hartland Drive, said: “It’s an unbelievable area of intrinsic beauty, but we don’t know why the college keeps piling more planning applications on top of it.

“We’ll do all we can to save it.”

A spokesman for All Souls College said: “We think this is a recreational use very much within planning policy regarding the greenbelt.

“It will bring many new jobs to the area and the applicant is a company which manages many golf courses. It has done a full environmental assessment.

“It has also worked with Transport for London (TfL) to gain full support.”

To sign the petition, click here.