VILLAGERS fighting controversial plans for a crematorium were out in force after a farmer started ploughing up land earmarked for the site.
Around 30 people rushed to Moor Lane, in Willoughby, to halt the work being done, last Wednesday.
Aamer Waheed, who owns the land, is hoping to turn the field into a 22,000-plot cemetery and crematorium.
He doesn’t currently have planning permission to build on the land and the group Villages Against Cemetery and Crematorium (VACC) was set up in October 2010 to fight the plans.
Villager Richard Jackson said: “We didn’t know anything like this was planned.
“We’ve been told this field could be of national importance and it would be a real tragedy for it to be destroyed.
“At this stage it’s hopefully possible to restore it but it will take a long time to get it back to what it was after seeing the amount of damage that’s been done.”
Parish councillor Ben Hallam said: “A farmer rang me and said ploughing had begun and he asked if we could come down. It’s quite upsetting for us that this has happened.
“The land is ancient ridge and furrow and it’s currently going through the Natural England process to be designated as Grade I.”
An English Heritage spokesperson said: “We are treating this case with the highest priority but there is no protection for a site while a decision is being made as to whether it should be designated.”
Mr Waheed was unavailable for comment as the Advertiser went to press.