DEMONSTRATORS braved torrential rain on Saturday to show their disgust at the demolition of old trees in Broadbridge Heath.
Up to 50 members of the public and anti-housing groups showed up to the Save our Sussex Alliance-led protest opposite Newbridge Nurseries.
The trees and hedgerows were originally felled in March to make way for the beginning of a 963-home development south of Broadbridge Heath village, as there were no tree-preservation orders in place to prevent their felling.
David Mowling, chairman of Save our Sussex Alliance, said: “Somebody needs to be accountable for this wanton destruction.”
Clutching banners and placards most of the protesters, clad in hardy raincoats and armed with umbrellas, were greeted with honks of support from passing cars.
The Campaign to Protect Rural Pulborough Village, Save our Storrington, Save Billingshurst and Henfield’s Own Preservation Society were a few of many groups who attended.
“We are heading for catastrophe within Sussex because the council are hellbent on this development programme. This is not what the people of Sussex want,” Mr Mowling said.
“Horsham District Council have an opportunity to do the right thing by the groups, their residents and the services.”
Lorraine Dale, of CPRPV, added: “It showed that SOSA is going from strength to strength, and that the ever increasing numbers of people from Sussex are willing to join forces to protest against the destruction of the beautiful countryside, wildlife, habitat and trees.”
Next Tuesday HDC’s Strategic Planning Advisory Group will consider public responses to the council’s housing consultation.
This comes as over half of the 400 responses were model letters sent out by Residents Against Greenfield Erosion rejecting all four options for new housing in the district.
Meanwhile Broadbridge Heath Parish Council responded by picking none of the options, while North Horsham Parish Council said it chose the lowest option with extreme reluctance.
Last month the Campaign to Protect Rural England released an alternative report to HDC’s Locally Generated Needs Study.
The Hives Report, which looks at previous annual build rates in Horsham district, recommended 480 new houses per year, totalling 9,600 over the next 20 years, compared to the lowest consulted option of 590.