One of the men who mounted a David and Goliath battle against would-be developers has lost his own fight with cancer.

Mike Hardy died at the weekend having fought the disease for many months.

Together with friend Bill Magee, Mr Hardy had led the long fight to stop Huddersfield beauty spot Clayton Fields being developed.

The two men took on the might of the British legal system – and emerged victorious 16 years later.

Their fight to save the area started in 1996 when a speculator applied to build blocks of flats on the 6.5 acres of open land between Edgerton and Birkby known as Clayton Fields.

Local residents Mike and Bill got together to form the Clayton Fields Action Group to campaign against the proposal.

Mr Hardy, 70, of Queens Road, Edgerton, was secretary of the Action Group and a Trustee of the group which soon reached 400 members.

The group gained legal village green status for the fields – but the matter was far from over.

The land was sold to a housebuilding company which, in 2008, launched the first of three further High Court actions against the residents’ group.

Undeterred, the dynamic duo galvanised local support and planned their case. In 2010, Mike, Bill and David Bowen travelled down to London where they personally put the residents’ case before the High Court, saving many thousands of pounds in legal fees. They won.

In March last year, Clayton Fields was awarded the coveted village green status and the community celebrated.

Members of the Clayton Fields Action Group celebrate, l to r, Norma Hardy, Jennie Magee, Bill Magee (chmn) and Mike Hardy (sec)
Members of the Clayton Fields Action Group celebrate, l to r, Norma Hardy, Jennie Magee, Bill Magee (chmn) and Mike Hardy (sec)
 

The developers have since threatened to pursue the case in the Supreme Court.

Amazingly, both men carried on the fight having each been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Mr Magee announced his friend’s death in a brief note to supporters yesterday.

He said: “Dear Friends, Just to let you know that sadly Mike passed away this morning at 10.20am.”