Ben Fogle among objectors to proposal for site near Arundel, in the latest of a series of eco-town protests

Around 2,000 protesters marched against plans for an eco-town at Ford in West Sussex at the weekend, among them TV presenter Ben Fogle.

The presenter joined his father, local resident Dr Bruce Fogle, on the march against the 5,000-home eco-town planned for the rural site.

Gordon Roddick, widower of Body Shop tycoon Anita, was also present on the three-mile march along footpaths in countryside around the shortlisted site near Arundel.

Communities Against Ford Eco-town, which was set up in April after the former Ford Airfield site was named as one of 15 possible eco-town locations, objects that 87% of the site is greenfield land.

The campaigners have warned that the development would engulf the nearby villages of Ford, Climping and Yapton and could worsen the area's tendency to flooding.

Protestors heard speeches from local MPs and a message of support from Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew. The Duchess of Norfolk, whose family seat is the nearby Arundel Castle, was also in attendance.

The weekend also saw a rally against a proposed eco-town at Curborough, on the edge of Lichfield in Staffordshire.

Fradley Against Curborough Town, which was set up to challenge the local eco-town plan, organised a march through the centre of Lichfield on Saturday.

Other recent local protests against eco-town proposals include the formation of a human chain around Kellington Parish Church in North Yorkshire on 24 May, in opposition to plans for a 60,000-home eco-town at nearby Willow Green.

In April, campaigners against Stoughton eco-town site in Leicestershire staged a road show in Oadby to mobilise support against the plans.

The campaigners, in common with many opponents of eco-towns in rural locations, argue that the development threatens the local environment and their way of life in the countryside.

The government plans the eventual construction of 40 “sustainable” eco-towns across the UK.