A community is fighting to protect a field described as ‘part of the fabric of village life’ .
Families and nature lovers gathered in Horsted Keynes to plead for the site to be saved from a proposed development of 38 homes.
They say the ‘Sledging Field’ has drawn the village together for generations, with children using it on snowy days for nearly 100 years.
Outline planning permission for the homes to be built on the field west of Church Lane is yet to be considered by Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC).
The District Planning Committee will only consider the new homes and access, with all other matters reserved.
The application includes 11 affordable homes and will involve the demolition of Peacocks in Church Lane.
Resident Philip Miles said: “The Sledging Field is a unique corner of the English countryside. It is part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“There are no less than 53 grade II listed buildings in the village and one grade I listed building, St Giles Church, parts of which date back to Saxon times.
“It is also the final resting place of the late Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. It would be a shame for this development to happen here.
“Furthermore, it also provides one of the most iconic views of the village that is enjoyed by ramblers and hikers from far and wide, who come to walk the many footpaths through the village and past the Sledging Field, including the Sussex Border Path which runs off the site.
“This includes many groups of young people completing or training for their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. This area will be compromised by this development.”
Residents are also concerned that the development would impact access to the village’s St Giles Church of England Primary School.
Melodie Peat, aged eight, a St Giles CofE pupil who attended the demonstration, said: “It would ruin the country walks and environment, and it would be dangerous for the school children who go to St Giles.”
The application proposes a new access via Church Lane, a pedestrian link to the village school and village centre, and a childrens play area.
Residents are able to comment on the application via the MSDC website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline is Friday (January 19).
People can also follow the residents’ campaign on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ourhorstedkeynes/ or visit their website: www.ourhorstedkeynes.com/
For more information about the planning application search under reference DM/17/4913.