Walsall legend Chris Marsh backs Save the Seven Cornfields campaign
Walsall legend Chris Marsh has thrown his support behind a campaign to stop more than 1,000 homes being build on green land on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
The retired footballer, who now works for Coventry City, made more than 500 appearances and won three promotions with the Saddlers between 1988 and 2001.
But it was on farmland near Penn Common, known locally as Seven Cornfields, where Marsh first honed his footballing skills.
And with so many brownfield sites available for redevelopment, he sees no reason why an area of local beauty has to be spoilt.
"Seven Cornfields is an area that has so many fond memories for me and my family," the 49-year-old said.
"It's where I grew up and where I played football with my friends and two brothers.
"It would be absolutely scandalous to turn such a naturally beautiful area into yet another housing estate.
"I appreciate there is a shortage of housing.
"But there are plenty of brownfield sites that are in desperate need of redevelopment, while Seven Cornfields is an integral part of the community.
"It's a place where children enjoy themselves and explore wildlife, because it is rich in wildlife.
"It's a place people walk their dogs and enjoy rambles.
"I'm not just being sentimental, it is a special area that has to be saved."
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While no formal planning application has yet been made for the land, Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes have shown an interest in building on the site.
That has prompted more than 4,000 people to sign a petition calling for the council to axe the plan.
And Mr Marsh has urged people to go online and add their name.
"I am incredibly proud of my Black Country roots," he continued.
"I have lived outside the area for 15-years now but my mum and dad live in Sedgley and we are all incredibly proud of the area.
"This petition is about local people. Building 1,000 homes at Seven Cornfields doesn't benefit the local community, it takes away an area they love.
"We need to take care of and look after these types of spaces, not build on them.
"And that's before you get to all the problems you'd have with road congestion and infrastructure if the development went ahead.
"Building homes on that land is an awful idea so I urge everyone to sign the petition, it only takes a few minutes and will really show how much this area means to local people."
The petition to save Seven Cornfields can be found at: www.change.org/p/south-staffordshire-district-council-save-the-seven-cornfields.