A historically significant cricket pitch linked to the the nation's greatest cricketer - Sir Donald Bradman - could be destroyed.
The Land and Environment Court will assess a senior's living proposal on the land which currently is home to the cricket pitch.
One local and a keen historian Nick Corbett holds grave concerns for the future of what he has described as a "magic place".
Mr Corbett said this was "more than just a cricket pitch, it is rare example of a 19th century cricket ground in its original setting."
"This is the last of the fabled Glebe cricket grounds from the 1890s," he said.
"It bookends the Glebe lands, which were donated to the Church of England in 1855 by John Norton Oxley, with its modern cousin Bradman Oval.
What makes this old cricket ground so compelling is that it was also Don Bradman's school sports ground, where he played his first organised cricket, and practiced at lunch time.
The cricket pitch is on land within a conservation precinct in Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands. The site has been earmarked for 13 dwellings.
A development application from ERF Hospice featuring 16, mainly two-storey dwellings, was knocked back by Wingecarribee Shire Council in 2018.
The developers lodged an appeal through the Land and Environment Court and council is in the process of defending its decision. However, the developers have since submitted a modified application through the court in the hope of getting the proposal across the line.
The proposal has raised the ire of neighbours desperate to protect the integrity of the conservation precinct and, in particular, the cricket pitch.
Residents voiced their concerns in writing during a public exhibition period regarding the latest development proposal.
The Land and Environment Court officials are now set to meet onsite with developers on September 24 to further assess the proposal.
Residents have been advised that there will be no opportunity for a meeting with the public, but submissions from the exhibition period will be considered.
Mr Corbett said the land located behind St Jude's Church was a place in Bowral he had always loved.
"The old church and cemetery was a lovely, peaceful location where you could take time out. Behind the church was a common, where the local school children would play in the afternoons," he said.
"For over 100 years this was the main path between Bradman Oval, the hospital and town.
"While it felt special, the history of the site was unknown. The non-descript concrete pitch on the church land proved to be the key to unlocking the history of cricket on the Glebe and adds another chapter to the Don Bradman legacy."
Mr Corbett said that from around 1904 the concrete pitch was used for junior cricket as it was located just over 100 metres from Bowral Public School.
"Don Bradman played cricket on this pitch at high school, as his uncles and cousins had done before him," he said.
"When Bradman debuted for the senior team on Bradman Oval, these men, who by that time were in their late 40s, played alongside him.
"As such the old pitch on the Glebe gives context to the rise of Don Bradman, and is typical of the environment he grew up in.
"It also demonstrates the evolution of cricket from paddocks to modern grounds over the past century."
Apart from cricket, Bowral's first place of worship, Mr and Mrs Carpenter Frost's hut is also located on the church land, as was Bowral's first library.
Mr Corbett said that one of Australia's best known teachers H E Southey overlooked this common from Eldon Cottage and his daughter supervised the building of the St Jude Athletic Tennis Court in 1904.
"In the 1980s the circus came to town when the Ginger Meggs Movie was filmed on site," he said.
"It is also likely to have been a place of habitation for the local Gundungurra tribe (an old man burnt to death on this land in 1902 in a stringy bark humpy)."
Mr Corbett said that the biggest challenge faced in the Southern Highlands was that many of the heritage places, particularly in towns and villages, were not yet documented and risked being lost without a trace.
He has a vision for the area that would ensure it was preserved, and its historic significance enjoyed by future generations.
"We need a concerted effort to research, document and record our history," he said.
"I would like to see the cricket pitch and its curtilage, the church land, State Heritage listed and resumed to form a 'Glebe Precinct' for its association with Don Bradman and the early history of cricket in Bowral and the Southern Highlands," he said.
"This would link the key commercial sites of the Bowral CBD with Bradman Oval.
"Apart from the historical associations it is important not to lose these pedestrian routes.
"If preserved, the cricket pitch and its curtilage, the church land, has the potential to increase the significance of Bradman Museum and add to the visitor experience - on market days guided tours would take visitors from the public school, past the church to Bradman's school ground and then onto Bradman Oval."
Mr Corbett said that longer tours could continue to the sports grounds and down to the historically significant property in Aitken Road, Grantham, where Bradman's mentor Alf Stephens lived and where Bradman also practiced cricket upon leaving school.
"It could be Bowral's equivalent to Sydney's Hyde Park - another early cricket ground which was transformed into a public park," he said.
Australian Community Media contacted the developers for a comment.
They said that "unfortunately due to current proceedings, we are unable to respond to individual questions at this stage but would like to inform you that the applicant continues to work with the Wingecarribee Shire Council and relevant authorities to achieve an appropriate outcome for the site."