Planning Matters:

The Welkin: You may recall that developers have been attempting for some time to fill some of the Welkin’s green spaces with further housing. Following vigorous local opposition, Mid Sussex Council refused permission earlier in 2023. We are pleased to report that an appeal lodged against the council’s decision was rejected by the Planning Inspectorate in September. The inspector’s decision cited “harm to the character and appearance of the area” as the reason for refusal. In addition to countering the threat of overdevelopment that has been facing residents of the Welkin, this decision creates a useful precedent for responding to future attempts to urbanise our village.

Government Planning Legislation: The much delayed “Levelling up and Regeneration Act” became law on October 26. Despite the expansive title, the Act is mainly about planning policy. Earlier iterations of the bill, which would have centralised planning decisions even further than at present, eventually led to a backbench revolt in November 2022. The current Act is an attempt to navigate around the objections, but it still contains worrying elements. Most notably, the Secretary of State for Housing retains power over centralised “National Development Management Policies”. Originally the Secretary of State was to be able to set these policies without reference to the public or parliament. The final version of the bill at least requires full public consultation, except in “exceptional circumstances”. Given the past effectiveness of public consultation on housing, readers are perhaps entitled to view this safeguard with some scepticism.

Government planning policy is likely to remain the single greatest threat to our countryside.

Co-operation with the Monday Group:

We have provided funding for the Monday Group to make improvements to the streamside path in the Scrase Valley nature reserve. The Monday Group is an organisation of volunteer workers who clear and maintain the rights of way in Sussex. They recently received the King’s Award for Voluntary Service. The renovated path will provide better access for this natural asset for the village.

Lindfield Society Talks: Our programme of free talks continues in the King Edward Hall. The details of this year’s talks will be emailed to members, shown on our website ( and displayed on the Jubilee notice board when finalised.

We would like to thank all our members for your continuing support in 2023 and wish you all a very happy New Year.


Following consultation with members at the 2022 AGM, and with the Charity Commission, we will now be using the working name ‘Lindfield Society’. Members will however notice that our bank account to which payments are made retains the name ‘Lindfield Preservation Society’, which is still the official title according to our constitution.

Planning matters:

The Welkin: We reported earlier in the year that developers were attempting to build on open spaces within the Welkin.The proposals (applications DM/22/1890 and DM/22/1893) failed to recognise that green and open spaces are an integral part of the Welkin’s design. This could have created a precedent for importing urban blight into the heart of the village and we urged residents to object. Mid Sussex District Council has rightly refused permission for both applications. Whilst an appeal is always possible, the council’s decision sends an important message that inappropriate, speculative development in the village centre will be resisted.

Government Planning Legislation: This remains the single greatest threat to villages and countryside across the Southeast. A decade of unrealistic, top-down housing targets and increasing licence for developers has disfigured desirable locations, while a shortage of truly affordable housing stubbornly persists. The housing provisions of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill 2022, as we reported earlier, were to exacerbate this state of affairs.

The wild-west character of the planning landscape has, however,led to resistant i Parliament. A vote on the report stage of the levelling-up bill was pulled in late November, in the face of proposed amendments that would make housing targets advisory rather than mandatory, as well as limit developers’ ability to build up “land banks” rather than deliver housing. At the time of writing, negotiations continue between the government and the rebels. It remains to be seen whether the course of planning legislation will change by returning powers to communities, who know their own areas best. If you have not already done so,we urge members to contact our MP, Mims Davies (, asking for her support in making this change of direction. (our open letter is available for reference on the Lindfield Society website).

Donations to good causes: We agreed at the 2022 AGM that the Society would make donations to local good causes whose work aligns with our aims as a registered charity. Accordingly, we are exploring ways to support the 30+ Ukranian families residing temporarily in our area. We will be making an annual contribution to The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in Sussex. CPRE is an important national organisation advocating for the quality of life in the countryside. We will be working with the Monday Group, volunteers who clear and maintain public rights of way, to repair the footpath through the Scrase Valley nature reserve. We are also refurbishing the pond bench donated by the Society years ago.

Lindfield Heritage Trail: There has been a high level of interest in the trail, launched in cooperation with the Lindfield History Project Group for the Queen’s Jubilee and the Society’s 60th anniversary. We have reprinted the brochures explaining the route, which are available from High Street retailers and been distributed to local schools. More information on the sites that the trail highlights is available on the Society’s website. Please make use of these resources to learn more about our historic village.

We would like to thank all our members for your continuing support in 2022 and wish you all a very happy New Year!


Following consultation with our members and approval at our April AGM, the Society has modified its name from Lindfield Preservation Society to Lindfield Society. We hope that this formulation is more inclusive, encompassing our commitment to sensitive development and improvement as well as preservation. Conserving what makes Lindfield special remains of course our goal.

Lindfield Heritage Trail

We were pleased to launch this initiative in cooperation with the Lindfield History Project Group. The Heritage trail commemorates the Queen’s Jubilee and the Society’s 60th anniversary. An etched metal map at the King Edward Hall marks the start and provides commentary via a QR code linking to our website. Free brochures are also available from High Street retailers and have been distributed to local schools.

Regular activities

We have also been pleased to resume the presentation of Conservation and Design Awards at our annual AGM. These awards acknowledge the efforts of residents who carry out building work with thoughtful design and materials, enhancing both the property and the intrinsic character of the village.

Our annual talks programme at the King Edward Hall is also back in place. Lindfield Life provides details on each event, for example Wednesday, 14 September’s talk on “Wakehurst – Covid and Beyond”.

The Pond

We have been urging Mid Sussex District Council to undertake a thorough restoration. We are now informed that the council will be making improvements by the autumn, including replacement of the floating island, duck house and pond-side bollards, as well as new planting.

Planning matters

The Welkin: Developers have applied for permission to build on open spaces in this neighbourhood, failing to recognise that green and open spaces form an integral part of the Welkin’s design. The two applications would in our view import urban blight into the heart of the village. We encourage residents to object to Mid Sussex District Council Planning Department, citing application numbers DM/22/1890 (entrance to Green Meadows) and DM/22/1893 (entrance to The Welkin).

Government Planning Legislation: This remains the single greatest threat to our countryside. A “Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill” is currently under development. It would centralise radically how planning decisions are made, giving national development policies the decisive role. There would be no obligation to involve the public in developing these policies. The bill also contains a new mechanism allowing the Secretary of State to grant permission for controversial developments, bypassing the planning system altogether. The public would have no right to be consulted as part of this process. Any protection for communities against overdevelopment – which under current legislation is already feeble at best – is in danger of evaporating.

The past decade has seen planning powers increasingly centralised, resulting in unrealistic housing targets dictated from above and developers being allowed to do largely as they please. This has resulted in unwanted and unneeded speculative housing schemes that disfigure desirable locations while a shortage of truly affordable housing stubbornly persists. More of the same will not do. We urge residents to contact our MP, Mims Davies (, asking for her support in resisting the new legislation and further erosion of protection for the public.



Government planning legislation continues to pose the single greatest threat of over development for the entire southeast. A White Paper in the autumn of 2020 proposed removing the few protections that remain for communities targeted by speculative developers. Councils would have been compelled to identify land “zoned” for development, where applications would receive automatic approval. A centralised algorithm would have imposed housing targets even less reasonable than the existing ones. Resistance across the political spectrum was so strong that these proposals were quietly paused for further consideration. Recently, there have been warm words from government about prioritising the development of brownfield land instead. This is not, however, what is happening on the ground. Nationally, the proportion sites with planning permission that are brownfield is the lowest since records began: 44% vs 53% last year (November 2021 report by Campaign to Protect Rural England). Developers continue to focus on more profitable, greenfield sites even as these become more vital in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. Nor, at the time of writing, has the government published any new White Paper to formalise a change of direction. It is very important that all residents who have not yet done so contact our MP Mims Davies ( to make their views clear and request her support.

200 houses at Scamps Hill: The developers, Southern Housing Group, announced their intention to begin roadworks in the autumn before having an approved construction management plan. This provision is required and will be important for keeping HGV traffic away from the High Street. Our and others’ representations to Mid Sussex District Council resulted in an official reminder to the developers that work may not begin without such a plan. Planning permission unfortunately has been secured for this scheme, but we can still work to ensure that required procedures are followed to provide a level of protection from its impact. 48 houses off High Beech Lane: Regular flooding of neighbouring streets and properties has accompanied construction works by developers Croudace. This was predictable and indeed predicted, given the history of flooding and land instability in this area. Again, regrettably, planning permission has been granted, so efforts must focus on minimising the negative impact by enlisting the council’s enforcement officers.

Blocks of flats on Tavistock and Summerhill School site: On a more positive note, the applicants’ appeal, following the council’s refusal of permission, was unsuccessful. It is notable that the appeal failed specifically because of the effect the scheme would have had on the “character and appearance of the area”. This precedent should provide protection from blocks of flats in Lindfield.

Heavy Goods Vehicles in Lindfield: the Parish Council has carried out consultation that supports an HGV restriction (except for access) on Lewes Road between Gravelye Lane and the High Street. We look forward to a response from West Sussex County Council during the first quarter of 2020.

The Society was glad to be able to resume its talks programme in the autumn and is proposing some new initiatives, including a heritage trail in the village. We wish all our members health and happiness in the New Year.



Five Walks around Lindfieldfeatures walks, with hand drawn maps, ranging from 3 to 6 miles. Each was re-walked, with dog, in 2017 and updated in 2020.

Price £1 per copy
“Lindfield” by Jane Reid. Jane first published this description of Lindfield and its history in 1983 and updated it in 2019. Each section is illustrated by the author’s line drawings. The Society acts as Jane’s agent.
Price £4 per copy

For information about how to purchase the above publications, please email:  

The Society has a stall at the annual Village Fair – this is 2019.

We hope the Fair will be back with us in the summer of 2021 .

The Society entered a decorated “tree” in the Community Orchard project organised by the Arts Festival in autumn 2018. It certainly was not the most artistic effort, but we believe it represented what the Society was all about – involvement in planning applications that are detrimental to the look and feel of the village. Our aim is to promote and encourage the sympathetic development of the village and preserve the trees and hedgerows surrounding it.