Since 1961 LINDFIELD SOCIETY has consistently scrutinised all local planning applications for the village and surrounding countryside. Our remit is to encourage the preservation, development and improvement of our historic village. We review around 200 applications during the year, and raise objections to about 5%, citing planning legislation and any detrimental affect on neighbours. We support residents affected by planning decisions and are often asked for advice by homeowners who are about to apply for planning permission for extensions and renovations. We are also happy to assist local protest groups who are objecting to larger building projects around the village.

Our involvement remains objective at all times.


Speculative development attempted again in Lindfield – February 2024

Gladman Developments have now submitted a planning application and you will find our objection below. We encourage all residents to object, either using Mid Sussex District Council’s planning portal or by emailing the case officer Stuart Malcolm ( It is important to base objections on sound planning reasons and you will find examples in our letter. You will cover the main points if you simply adopt our first paragraph.

Please send objections to Mid Sussex District Council by Fri 29 March.

District Plan consultation Feb 2024

Mid Sussex District Plan, Regulation 19 Consultation

It is a cause for concern, given the changes both in national planning policy legislation and in MSDC’s administration, that the Council’s new leadership is not taking the opportunity of this review to bring housing targets down to a realistic level. We understand that the recent change to the NPPF making the “standard method” of assessing housing need “an advisory starting point” rather than obligatory (para 61) is not all it seems at first glance. The NPPF still sets the bar high for councils that wish to depart from earlier, centrally dictated targets.

We understand also that MSDC has taken legal advice on this point, but question whether the Council has probed sufficiently to find a way to free the district from increasingly unrealistic targets. What is needed is to insist on hearing precisely what conditions must be satisfied in order to depart from the standard method and then to build a case on that basis. Both the previous MSDC administration and the CPRE have analysed housing need and produced substantially lower numbers. We see no evidence that the current Council leadership has engaged with these studies.

It is worth recalling that during the current plan period, it took the council eight years (2014/15 – 2021/22) to meet the cumulative housing target based on 876 units per year. This was only done by relying on (one-off) large-scale development at Burgess Hill and by approving schemes elsewhere that would earlier have been refused. This surely demonstrates how unreasonable the original requirement was. Driving the target still higher to 1,090, and backdating it as planned to 2020/21, would immediately push the district back into deficit. Speculative developers will of course be able to exploit this by arguing that the Council is in default. We already have a would-be developer in Lindfield proposing to build on a site excluded from the District Plan. Others will be circling.

It is sometimes argued that an established District Plan, regardless of the housing target, is better than a wild west in which developers do as they please. But if the District Plan largely gives them what they want anyway, it simply becomes a wild west by another name. This is the danger we face in Mid Sussex. District policies supporting character and design, ecology, infrastructure, open spaces and recreation risk being swept away by more overdevelopment. The housing number is the linchpin of the District Plan, the critical element that will determine whether all other ambitions in the plan succeed or fail. We urge the Council to think again and reduce housing numbers to a realistic level.

Gil Kennedy Chairman

PLANNING UPDATE – December 2022

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 form 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. While 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 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.

The Society’s Open Letter to our MP Mims Davies can be seen on the Home Page Latest News.

November 2020

Government White Paper threatens to fuel overdevelopment

The biggest planning issue facing the entire southeast is the recent White Paper, “Planning for the Future”. The new proposals, following a decade of overdevelopment, would grant developers even further license to escape local control. It is notable that these proposals have drawn condemnation from across the political spectrum, including the parliamentary Conservative party.

We would point out three areas in which the proposals are fundamentally flawed:

1) They would create a zonal planning system, in which applications based on pre-approved “design codes” receive automatic approval. This would eliminate a whole stage of local oversight, increasing the likelihood of unsuitable building schemes.

2) They would establish a centralised algorithm to impose higher housing targets on local authorities. This would be a best a very blunt instrument that would be blind to local geography, ecology and building patterns.

3) The centrally imposed targets would be entirely unrealistic. The new housing target for Mid Sussex, for example, would be 1,305 units per year – 72% above current build rates. The imposition of such an implausible requirement would only ensure that the local authority remains in default, making us even more vulnerable to speculative schemes.

A consultation period on these proposals has now ended. Media reports indicate that the government may alter its position at least partially.

Dear Members, The Lindfield Society has been asked to circulate the petition below expressing concern about the potential loss to development of open land in Haywards Heath. The area is outside the Society’s mandate, but all local overdevelopment collectively corrodes the character and quality of life in our area. Moreover, unrealistic housing targets imposed by central government will continue to put pressure on Mid Sussex District Council to offer up unsuitable sites. Members may therefore be interested in this petition and may wish to sign in a personal capacity.

Croudace scheme for 48 houses off High Beech Lane (now referred to as Town Wood Close)

Works have now begun on a site with a history of flooding and land instability. Mid Sussex District Council appears to have satisfied itself that the developers have responded adequately to the risks. Concerns have remained, however, and the weekend of 14 – 15 November saw unprecedented flooding in this area. Residents have called on the Council to issue a stop order halting construction until an independent, expert analysis can find a permanent solution.

Haywards Heath Golf Course:

Fairfax the developers withdrew their application for 725 homes earlier this year. This is likely to be a tactical withdrawal only, given the potential profits from a scheme of this size. We can expect the developers to continue their efforts to have the golf course added to the District Council’s list of approved sites for development. Vigilance will be required.

200 houses at Scamps Hill

Southern Housing Group announced in June its intention to build 200 dwellings south of Scamps Hill and subsequently submitted a detailed (“reserved matters”) planning application. Regrettably, the Secretary of State gave outline planning permission to Wates in 2018, so development in some form will take place. There is some irony in a charitable housing trust carrying out this unwarranted assault on our community. The Society has objected, although we are limited now to commenting on the details of the scheme.

Blocks of flats on Tavistock and Summerhill School site UPDATE Sept 2022: new application awaited!

There was a victory for common sense in August when a Planning Committee refused permission for this scheme. The proposal, comprising 34 flats and four “town houses”, was an urban concept entirely out of keeping with the rest of Lindfield’s built environment. An appeal is of course possible. IN MARCH 2021 AN APPEAL WAS LODGED. THE SOCIETY’S ORIGINAL FULL OBJECTIONS WILL BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. HOWEVER, OUR CHAIRMAN HAS SUBMITTED A FURTHER REPRESENTATION TO EMPHASISE THE STRENGTH OF LOCAL FEELING AGAINST THIS PROPOSAL. His letter can be read below:

Heavy Goods Vehicles in Lindfield

January 2021 Update: WSCC Highways dept is now prepared to consider a further application to RESTRICT HGV traffic between the High Street and Gravelye Lane to PREVENT HGVs using the narrow Lewes Road/High Street junction. An independent professional consultation will analyse the SUPPORT FOR and the objections AGAINST the Traffic Restriction Order. As soon as coronavirus restrictions start to ease the Parish Council and Project Centre will launch a dedicated website for the consultation. Look out for the launch of the Consultation and PLEASE contribute, as overwhelming support from the community is essential if WSCC is to reconsider their decision. Read more in the recent Lindfield Life February edition, page 17.

West Sussex County Council Highways department continues to resist an HGV ban (except for access) from Lewes Road between Gravelye Lane and the High Street. This seems to us to be an entirely sensible proposal that would largely remove the temptation for hauliers to use Lindfield as a short cut to and from sites farther east. We, the Parish Council and other concerned residents will continue to lobby for this measure.