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05 February 2017 Posted by Andy Spooner
Between 2012 and January 2016, a considerable amount of effort was expended by the Parish Council and numerous members of the community, both here and in Lindfield, to develop our Plan. During that time, I continually made the point that the Plan would determine the location and size of any new housing development.
The Plan was finally approved in a referendum on 28 January 2016 and Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) made it part of their planning conditions on 23 March 2016. From that date, all planning applications in our area should have been decided on the criteria in our Plan. They have not.
The 230+ homes in the field east of Gravelye Lane, that I originally 'warned' about, were approved and are now under construction. A further 130 homes in the adjacent fields are to be considered by MSDC on 16 February and in correspondence that I've seen, the District Council Assistant Chief Executive Officer states that permission will undoubtedly be granted. There is an up and coming appeal for another 200 homes, again in the same fields, which, the way things are going, will also be approved. Those approximately 560 homes will then fill the fields between Lindfield and Walstead, as far as the Walstead Place Nursing Home. As I hinted in my original article, Walstead will be no more, look out Scaynes Hill, welcome to Lindfield/Haywards Heath. This time, it is not a 'spoof'. You will be aware that MSDC also recently approved the 51 homes on the Barn Cottage site, by the Inn on the Green. None of the developments were 'approved' in the Neighbourhood Plan. We were seriously misled about the purpose/validity of Neighbourhood Plans.
It now appears that the Government are about to issue new planning guidance, probably permitting building on the Greenbelt among other sensitive places. Watch out Costells Wood, Anchor Wood, Scaynes Hill Common, the recreation ground etc.
What, if anything, can be done?
I have noticed that someone, elsewhere in the country where similar problems are being experienced, has started a petition on the Government petition web site, to:
'Give communities back the right to decide where houses are built'
I would like to believe that such a petition will achieve the desired result. If you would like to assist, then you can access the petition, find more detail and hopefully vote, at:
You might also wish to pass on the details to friends and family.
Finally, I must apologise to all those to whom I said that our Neighbourhood Plan would control where houses were built. I thought I was telling you the truth. We were all misled.