More than 100 people took part in a protest march against plans to build 700 homes on land at Mornings Mill Farm in Willingdon.
Residents brandished posters with messages like ‘say no to more cars’ and ‘save our green space’ and marched from The Triangle to the farm off Eastbourne Road.
Landowners say the plans, which include a medical centre, primary school, community hall, and shops, will create a sustainable neighbourhood on the 51.2 hectare site – but residents argue the area will not be able to cope.
Protest organiser Kim Gardener helped set up a Facebook group against the development which has more than 1,000 members. Asked about the protest, she said, “It was amazing, we were so impressed. We thought, what if nobody comes? But there was about 100 people.”
“Roads can’t cope with the housing, and then there’s flooding issues,” Kim said, “My garden in Eastbourne Road is currently flooded. . It affects so many different things, the sewerage, the surface water – where’s it all going to go?
“There’s lots of people who didn’t even know about it but now do. People have been handing out leaflets, it’s brought the community together.”
Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Stephen Lloyd joined the demonstration as well as Polegate MP Maria Caulfield.
Mr Lloyd said, “Local residents are, rightly, against this development and I agree totally. It’s far too big, will cause huge strains on the road network, the local infrastructure and this many houses could have serious water run-off problems.
“I’ve already put in a letter of objection along with more than 300 residents. It’s important we all work together on this issue to ensure Wealden council listen and reject the developers application.”
Ms Caulfield said, “This site is not designated in the local plan for development and has been objected to by both Polegate Town and Willingdon Parish Councils, as well as many local people.
“Especially with the lack of infrastructure improvements for local people this development is not appropriate.
“It is far too large and is on a greenfield site that is not designated for housing. I would urge local people in Polegate and Willingdon to submit objections to Wealden Council before February 10.”
Opinions can be submitted until February 10 on the Wealden planning website under the application number WD/2017/1942.