Decision to allow 130 homes ‘contravenes neighbourhood plan’

Lindfield Preservation Society oppose 130 homes granted by MSDC, which would be in line with the treeline on the horizon.  John Chapman (committee member), Catherine Cross (secretary), Gil Kennedy (chairman). Pic Steve Robards
Lindfield Preservation Society oppose 130 homes granted by MSDC, which would be in line with the treeline on the horizon. John Chapman (committee member), Catherine Cross (secretary), Gil Kennedy (chairman). Pic Steve Robards

A decision to allow planning permission for 130 new homes in Lindfield ‘contravenes Lindfield’s Neighbourhood Plan’, according to the Lindfield Preservation Society.

The scheme on the corner of Scamps Hill and Gravelye Lane was approved by Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee on Thursday (February 16).

John Jesson, Catherine Cross, Gil Kennedy, Lindfield Preservation Society Lindfield Common protest against 130 homes. Pic Steve Robards

John Jesson, Catherine Cross, Gil Kennedy, Lindfield Preservation Society Lindfield Common protest against 130 homes. Pic Steve Robards

The scheme was initially refused by the same committee in July 2016 before developers lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate and resubmitted the scheme in a second application.

Before the appeal was heard, the council dropped its reasons for refusing the first application.

Speaking after the meeting on Thursday, chairman of the Lindfield Preservation Society Gil Kennedy said: “We were extremely disappointed by this decision, especially as it reverses the same committee’s refusal of planning permission, by a large majority, in July 2016.

“The Lindfield Conservation Area is now to be disfigured by a smear of unneeded, urban sprawl on the ridge overlooking Lindfield Common.

“The new decision directly contravenes Lindfield’s Neighbourhood Plan, which, unsurprisingly, excludes construction on this land.

“The planning committee’s ill-judged determination will have repercussions well beyond Lindfield. It sets an ominous precedent for Conservation Areas across the district.
“It also broadcasts the clear message that the considerable time, energy and expenditure invested in Neighbourhood Plans have been wasted. This decision marks a bad day for democracy in Mid Sussex.”

During the meeting held at the Council Chamber, in Haywards Heath on Thursday, members of the committee said they had ‘no other option’ but to approve the application.

Councillor Colin Trumble said: “On this committee, we do not want to make a worse life for future generations living in Lindfield.

“We have heard from Highways experts who have said these homes will not be an issue. We are not experts on this and we have to go with what they have said. I just wish they would attend these meetings.

“The reasons for refusing this application in the past have largely been removed.

“What we say in these meetings could come back to bite us. We are hemmed in by case law and we have no other option but to move forward.”

The outline planning permission was approved with seven councillors in support and two against with no abstentions.

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