Residents described the proposed loss of a field in Slinfold as an ‘enormous tragedy’ when they gathered at a protest rally in the village.
More than 150 residents were out in force on Sunday, February 8, to show their anger over the possible redevelopment of a field off Hayes Lane which has been used by people in the village for more than 50 years.
The protest was organised after developers expressed an interest in turning the field into a housing estate which residents claim would accommodate up to 50 new houses and remove one of the only green spaces left in the village.
Emma Gardner organised the mass gathering.
She said: “It is not sustainable. Slinfold cannot take any more housing.
“It is one of those fields that is derelict and has never been built on.
“We will never get it back if it gets flattened and slowly but surely they will turn this village into a housing site.
“We have lots of memories of that field. On the last day of summer holidays we will go down to the field with the kids and set off balloons to say goodbye to the summer. It is a beautiful field and it would be the most enormous tragedy if we were to lose it.”
Diana Patterson, who lives opposite the field, added: “I have been looking at this field for 38 years out my window and it would be devastating to see it go.”
The scheme is being promoted by developer Taylor Wimpey which held a public consultation event at the village hall in January, Mrs Gardner said.
She added the company had asked residents for their feedback but they had not had any response from the developer since the consultation.
Currently no planning permission had been submitted.
As well as the loss of green space many residents were also concerned about the added risk of flooding.
Victoria Merritt said: “I have lived here all my life and grown up in the field. Since we have had the last lot of works near the field the drainage was not sorted and whenever it rains it all floods. Lots of us have had to get in flood defences. The problem would only get worse.” Mrs Merritt was also concerned about the impact more housing would have on the local school and dangers it may pose to wildlife.
Roger Patterson agreed. He said: “Most of us have been living here for 30 years. It is a wildlife area and I have seen a lot of wildlife in the field.”
As well as glow worms many residents said they had seen other animals living in the field including badgers and barn owls.
Rosie Stringer said: “The reason people came to live here was because it was a lovely rural village. That is what we want it to stay like.”
Slinfold parish councillors Lesley Day and Jane Slipper also attended the protest.
Mrs Day said: “This field hasn’t been converted since the 1950s. We are trying to gather public views because we haven’t been approached by the developers at all since the consultation.
“We want feedback from residents and their families.”