Another Threat To Lindfield

Mid Sussex District Council refused planning permission on 7 April for a speculative housing scheme that Wates the developers were proposing in countryside south of Scamps Hill. We can be pleased with this result, but we now need to react to another threat. Taylor Wimpey has applied for outline planning permission for 130 houses on greenfield land at the corner of Lewes Road and Gravelye Lane.

Their application could be considered as early as mid-May. Objections, headed Taylor Wimpey, ref DM/16/1012, land to the east of Gravelye Lane, Lindfield should be sent to arrive by Thursday, 5 May 2016. Please email them directly to the case officer Steven.King@midsussex.gov.uk, or write to Steven King, Planning Office, Mid Sussex District Council, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath RH16 1SS.

It is important that objections are based on sound planning considerations. You may find some of the following points useful in formulating your comments.

Taylor Wimpey’s application displays many of the same features that were unacceptable in the Wates scheme. For example:

 It violates Lindfield’s formally adopted Neighbourhood Plan, which expressly excludes development beyond the boundaries of the built-up area. It should be clear why this is so. Lindfield has already absorbed three major developments that are increasing our population by 20% and spilling 600 more cars onto our roads.

  • It violates the emerging Mid Sussex District Plan, which stipulates that this site would require allocation in the Neighbourhood Plan.
  • It would destroy a considerable expanse of countryside and wildlife habitat, for the sake of a large, exposed housing estate completely out of keeping with the character of Lindfield.
  • It is entirely unnecessary. There are already approved sites for more than 5,000 houses in Mid Sussex. Over the last ten years, developers have on average completed fewer than 500 per year.
  • In addition, there is an aggravating factor in this application that makes it even more objectionable than the Wates scheme: a large part of Taylor Wimpey’s estate would become a prominent and inappropriate urban backdrop to Lindfield Common. The Common and adjoining roads form a large part of the Lindfield Conversation Area. Damage to the character of this area has been successfully cited in the past as a reason for refusing permission to build on this site.

For further information, please contact the Lindfield Preservation Society on  482 538 or 483 367

Wates Application Is Decided

The Society and the residents of Walstead with our Ward Councillors, have today succeeded in getting the application for 188-200 houses on the green-field site south of Scamps Hill refused permission with a decisive vote of 9 to 3 from the District Planning Committee.  Many thanks to all those who lodged objections and helped us prepare the case.

Protection from HGVs

Lindfield has endured 24 months of 32 tonne trucks passing through the High Street (B2028) and the Lewes Road (B2111) on outward and return trips. The situation has become intolerable and we have over 1200 signatures to a petition requiring action. The Lindfield Preservation Society is leading the campaign to reduce the number of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) using local roads to pass through our neighbourhoods.
We are well aware that many of these lorry movements will have been passing through Ardingly, Turners Hill and Crawley Down and that Balcombe, Cuckfield, Sharpthorne and West Hoathly have also been adversely affected.
We have recently written to these and our own Parish Councils and to Community Groups asking them to support our application to WSCC for a Traffic Regulation Order to restrict access to vehicles over 7.5 tonne on all ‘B’ & ‘C’ roads in an area of Mid Sussex enclosed by the M23/A23 to the West, the A272, including the Haywards Heath bypass, to the South, the A275/A22 to the East and the A264/A2220 to the North.  Existing width limit signs and weight limit signs would be supplemented by new weight limit signs, almost all positioned along these routes.
Our proposal will oblige HGVs, to use, as advised by WSCC and ESCC, A-Class roads and Motorways unless local access is required. The facts are that the Advisory Routes are being disregarded and that effective signage is needed.
The villages of Copthorne, Hurstpierpoint, Hassocks, Keymer, Ditchling, Wivelsfield Green & Warninglid already have 7.5 tonne exclusion signs except for access & loading. The southern part of Cuckfield is similarly protected but the northern section is currently unprotected.  We have none.

More Development in Lindfield?

Mid Sussex District Council has published its draft District Plan for public consultation. The District Plan will be the council’s main planning document, identifying sites for housing development over the next 16 years. This will be our only opportunity to comment on the plan before the council submits it to the Government Planning Inspectorate for examination. The draft contains significant housing projections for Lindfield:  150 additional dwellings at Gravelye Lane and 50 at Portsmouth Wood Close, which would add 480 residents and 270 cars (in addition to the population growth described below).
In addition, council planners have considered a swathe of large sites stretching from the east around to the north of the village and have declared them “not currently developable” (see maps via links below). Developers and landowners are, however, actively promoting all but one of these sites.
If you are opposed to the further urbanisation of Lindfield, please register your objections with Mid Sussex District Council before the consultation period ends on July 24, 2015.

Please note that objections must be based on objective planning considerations. You may find the following points useful when formulating your comments:
1) Large developments already permitted at Newton Road and Gravelye Lane will swell our population by 1,000, an increase of nearly 20%. This will put nearly 600 more cars onto our roads (figures based on West Sussex County Council population data). Lindfield has already been compelled to accept a level of expansion that is clearly disproportionate to its size and to the capacity of its infrastructure (in particular, roads, educational and health care facilities). Clearly, further large-scale development would add significantly to the erosion of the village’s character and infrastructure.
2) Mid Sussex District Council needs to identify sites for new housing. But a general housing need surely cannot be used to justify building in unsuitable locations. No community should be sacrificed for the sake of making up a housing number.
3) The new sites projected at Gravelye Lane and Portsmouth Wood Close should therefore be removed from the draft District Plan. The sites to the east and north, designated at present as “currently” unsuitable for development, should be excluded categorically. Especially following the current wave of building, the principle governing future construction should be small-scale development only, within the built up area, in order to meet local housing needs and protect the character of the community. Further encroachment on the green fields around the village should be expressly ruled out.

You can also comment on line at the website above or post your remarks to Planning Policy and Economic Development at Mid Sussex District
Council, to arrive by 24 July 2015.

You can view the draft District Plan online at: http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/districtplan

To see the District Council’s maps and assessment of the possible sites in Lindfield go to the Strategic Land Availability Assessment: http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/8307.htm  and select the Parish Chapter, Assessed Site Map or Excluded Site Map under Lindfield and Lindfield Rural.

 

Wilderness Field

Since the building of the Limes Development, the Society has been pressing for the promised transfer of the Wilderness Field to the ownership of the Parish Council to secure its use for the benefit of the community. The first step in this process, namely the transfer to Mid Sussex District Council, has been unacceptably slow and the fear is that if it is delayed too long it may not happen at all.

Our Chairman has sent the following letter to the Mid Sussex Times to highlight this problem.

Dear sirs,

We are concerned by the behaviour of the developers Barratt Homes in Lindfield. Barratt has been required by planning condition to hold regular meetings with local residents concerning the housing estate they are building at Gravelye Lane. We have been using these meetings to press them on outstanding business from their last project in the village, “The Limes” estate at Newton Road. Barratt has yet to discharge planning conditions attached to this earlier development. Most notably, they have still not transferred ownership of the adjoining Wilderness Field (thus protecting it from further development) to Mid Sussex District Council. A planning condition required them to do this before half of the units were occupied, a point now well in the past. Repeated requests for them to deal with this and other outstanding issues have met a wall of silence since May 2014. This indicates clearly Barratt’s level of respect for the community in which they are operating.

The current situation is also a failure for Mid Sussex District Council, which self-evidently has not proved capable of enforcing its own planning conditions. Barratt’s large, inappropriate developments are being bolted onto the village because a sufficient number of district councillors chose to ignore vigorous local opposition and voted in favour. We call on these councillors to take responsibility for their actions and to ensure at least that planning conditions are respected.

We also urge neighbours of Barratt’s current development to be vigilant about what is happening near them. The precedents are not encouraging.

Yours sincerely,

Gil Kennedy
Chairman
Lindfield Preservation Society