Campaigners fighting to protect Framfield Recreation Ground from being used as the site of a 15m tall phone mast wore poppies at a public meeting to rally support.
They were remembering the Fallen and survivors of World War 1 and 2 who the recreation ground is a memorial to.
They urged people to sign a petition and write letters opposing a planning application for the mast saying it would desecrate the land. Their slogan was No Mast in our Past.
Paul Leader told more than 60 people who attended the meeting at Framfield Village Hall on Friday night the history of the recreation ground.
He said survivors of World War 1 came home to Framfield and were invited to choose a way of remembering the Fallen and investing in a project to further their own well-being.
They wanted to forget the noise and horrors of war and were seeking peace and tranquillity and the ideal option seemed to be to provide a recreation ground.
The problem was they only had £45, their proportion of £1½ million shared between parishes across the country, when they needed £385.
The decision was made to do some fund-raising within the village, and the vicar said if there was a shortfall afterwards he would cover it.
That wasn’t necessary, because the first people approached for help, Mr and Mrs G.T. Eaton of Thurston Hall, said they would meet the full cost.
A Mrs Curtis had already agreed to sell the ideal piece of land for the project, and while the tenant wasn’t too happy about that because he had just planted his crops, he gave up his lease when offered £5.
In July 1921 the recreation ground was opened. Two years later 60 trees were planted there too, with plaques beneath them to commemorate the Fallen.
In 1935 the Royal British Legion came in to help with maintenance of the recreation ground. More trees were planted which could also commemorate the silver jubilee of George V.
Four years after that World War 2 broke out. The Observer Corp was based there and trenches were dug so the home guard could use it.
The land was turned into a quagmire. The whole area around Framfield was bomb alley with planes crashing, bombs being dropped and doodlebugs coming down.
Five Germans were buried in Framfield churchyard after their Fokker came down. After the war they were disinterred and returned to Germany.
Farmers helped to restore the recreation ground and it has been enjoyed by the community ever since.
There’s a children’s play area on it, it has been used for different sports over the years and there are a seats under the trees where people can sit and watch the world go by.
A show of hands at the start of Friday’s public meeting showed most people were against the mast being built. Nobody was in favour but four people were undecided.
Campaigners were unhappy that the parish council was supporting the application having been offered £40,000 for a lease of the land.
They were upset about memorial land being used for the purpose and worried about the health effects with the mast being 20 metres from the play area, 120 metres from the school and 150 metres from residential properties.
Villagers were warned that at the time of the meeting they had only two-and-a-half weeks to object to the proposals so it was important they reacted quickly.
Some hope was held out by Jo Shakis who had spoken to the phone operating company which would build the mast because they had told her it would be against their ethos to build on memorial land and they were going to look into what she was saying. Another company had carried out the search for land on their behalf.
The planning application, number WD/2016/7502/T, for the mast, antennas, a dish and two cabinets at ground level, will be decided by Wealden District Council. Full details of the proposals can be seen on the Wealden website here, after first accepting a copyright and disclaimer.
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