Tom Conti leads the fight to keep the big trucks out of Little Green Street

PROTESTERS put their bodies on the line when they laid down in front of a seven-tonne truck in Kentish Town on Sunday

Tan Parsons

PROTESTERS put their bodies on the line when they laid down in front of a seven-tonne truck in Kentish Town on Sunday.

Led by actor Tom Conti, residents of Little Green Street took the drastic action to demonstrate against plans to turn the cobbled terrace into a thoroughfare for dumper trucks.

The stunt was set up by Mr Conti, who brought in the vehicle just to make his point.

He said: "I thought up the truck idea. I hired it especially.

"But having people lying down in front of it wasn't my idea - they did it spontaneously - it wasn't pre-planned at all."

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Developer Euro Investments has permission to build 20 three-storey houses and 10 flats on the former British Rail social club site in neighbouring College Lane.

Residents have been fighting since 2003 to stop the Georgian terrace from being turned into a route for construction vehicles and Camden Council is expected to make a decision on whether to allow access to the site at a planning meeting on February 28.

The street is just 2.5m wide and includes several Grade II-listed houses.

Mr Conti said: "Having the truck there showed how ludicrous these plans are - there is just no room. When the driver opened the door, his face was just nine inches from the side of the house.

"Hundreds of tonnes of earth would need to be carried away during the planned construction and the trucks would have to go up the street in first gear.

"It would be incredibly noisy and exhaust fumes would come belching out into all the houses in the street."

Mr Conti warned Camden Council planners not to underestimate the determination and anger of local people and was glad his publicity stunt had attracted media attention.

He added: "This proposal was originally refused, quite rightly, by Camden Council and then that was overruled by John Prescott who was deputy prime minister at the time.

"This reeks of chicanery in both local and national government. He didn't go and look at the street and yet anyone who actually sees it can tell the proposals are quite mad."

Fellow actor Roger Lloyd Pack, who lives in Kentish Town, and author Deborah Moggach also joined the protest.

Mr Lloyd Pack said: "The street is important - it's one of the few original Georgian streets in the area and the idea of lorries going through it constantly is absurd. It would destroy the lives of those living around here. It's just a bad idea, full stop."

Sheila Hill, 55, from neighbouring Ingestre Estate, said: These plans would destroy the whole of our lives.

"My children and grandchildren come up and down that road every day. If it goes ahead, I won't be able to enjoy living here. All of us on that estate use the road and this is a very serious issue. The whole area is against the scheme."