Calls to pull down ‘eyesore’ boards at controversial village site

Hoardings at Sandgate Nurseries in Henfield
Hoardings at Sandgate Nurseries in Henfield

A desperate plea has been made to pull down ‘dangerous’ hoardings around a field at the centre of controversial plans.

Wooden boards have been put up around the northern edge of Sandgate Nurseries in West End Lane, Henfield.

The land was subject to plans by developers Stonegate Homes and Littleworth Properties to build 72 new houses on the site.

They were refused by Horsham District Council and the decision was upheld by both the planning inspector and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government at appeals.

Henfield Parish Council along with residents claim the boards are a danger to the public.

Resident Elaine Scott said: “The hoarding is not only a complete eyesore in an otherwise beautiful rural location, it has made the lane very unsafe for pedestrians.

“West End Lane is already narrow, single track in parts, with no pavement. Children walking to the school bus stop need the safety of the verges as a refuge when cars and tractors are passing. Dog-walkers, horse riders and runners frequently use the lane.”

She added the boards made it ‘virtually impassable’ for two cars and they ‘need to be removed before a serious accident occurred’.

The parish council has received a large number of complaints.

Ray Osgood, chairman of the council, said he had met with Will Edmonds of Montagu Evans, which is representing both developers, who assured him that they ‘wish to work with the community’ and would like the site to be afresh ‘for the mutual benefit of all’.

‘Keep out, danger’ was written on the boards in red paint.

The district council said it had notified developers that they needed to reduce the size of the hoarding or relocate them.

Mr Edmonds, representing the developers, said: “Although the land may have been informally used by the local community, it is privately owned and does not have any public rights of way over it. We have been advised by our insurers that the site represents a health and safety risk and for this reason we have had to erect the hoarding to prevent unlawful public access. We have secured the relevant licence from the Highways Authority to erect the hoarding.”

He added a new application for the site is to be submitted shortly.

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