More than 60 residents picnicked on a Wallington field at the weekend in protest of the potential development of a school on the site.

Families and neighbours gathered on Sheen Way playing field, the proposed location of a new school for 246 children and young people with educational needs aged between five and 19, which would replace nearby Carew Academy.

Concerns have been raised over the loss of green space and environmental impact of construction.

Elizabeth Smith, of Godalming Avenue, said: “This field is and has been an important part of my family’s life.

“My children, now in their 30s, used to go and play there and the school they attended, nearby High View Primary School, have used it and still do for games lessons and Sports Days.

“These days we take our grandchildren over to the field.

“Recently our grandson age 7 enjoyed flying his kite and we often go there to play ball games. It’s a wonderful local community amenity.”

The Government’s Department for Education (DfE) previously agreed to provide a special educational needs (SEN) school for the Orchard Hill and Academy Trust, while the Sutton Local Plan earmarked Sheen Way Playing Fields for future redevelopment.

The Trust says it is “urgently needed” to help provide additional spaces to support more students with additional needs in the borough.

Carew Academy, on Church Road, would be shut before the opening of the new school some time during the 2020/21 academic year.

Independent Councillor for Beddington North, Jillian Green, who opposes the project, said: “We understand the need for a new school, but the Sheen Way Playing Field is not the right site.

“Access for construction vehicles through the nearby roads will be nearly impossible as there is parking on both sides of the roads.

“In addition, should the construction go ahead it is estimated that there will be over 50000 additional traffic movements to and from the new school.

“This would create considerable air and noise pollution.

“How a Council which vows to protect existing green spaces and find more can consider building on this field with its beautiful wild flowers and grasses and various wildlife including bats is beyond me and we will continue to oppose any form of development.”

Fellow Beddington North councillors Tim Foster and Nick Mattey have echoed sentiments, arguing an alternative site for the school should be found instead.