A community wildlife meadow where children have played for decades in St Albans could be fenced off to make way for horses to graze.

The land owners, Banner Homes Limited, have submitted an application to St Albans District Council to change the land between Mayne Avenue and Bedmond Lane in to a paddock.

Last year the meadow was nominated as an Asset of Community Value (ASV) under the Localism Act 2011, where members of the community have a right to make a bid for the land if the owner decides to dispose of it.

Banner Homes has now appealed against the successful granting of the ASV, which will be discussed in September.

More than 200 people have signed an online petition against the plans.

In one objection a resident said: "I am horrified at the suggestion of clearing the Bedmond lane wildlife meadow.

"This is a deceitful way of getting permission to build houses in time. What a ridiculous cover up to say it is needed for horse grazing."

Another read: "Our children grew up playing there and so has our grandchild. It would be a tragic loss to all of St Albans if it was fenced off to graze horses. If that permission is granted, then in two years the owners can apply for full building permission.

"The site should be re-designated as a Site of Special Scientific interest due to the variety of wild flowers, including orchids, and the butterflies they attract."

While another resident said: "I am horrified to even have to protest against this absurdity.

"People move especially to this residential area due to the nature, it will be grieving to see this natural privilege taken away from St Albans."

The council is currently considering the application. To sign the petition visit: http://www.petitions24.com/forum/102398