Developer accused of breaking promise with 220 home plan for Lindfield

Brian Godman, Stuart Burrell, John Ely and Gil Kennedy were amongst about 70 people at the MSDC offices protesting against the Wates development in 2013 ENGSUS00120130521141642
Brian Godman, Stuart Burrell, John Ely and Gil Kennedy were amongst about 70 people at the MSDC offices protesting against the Wates development in 2013 ENGSUS00120130521141642
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Residents have accused a developer of going back on its word in its bid to add 220 more houses to a development which it said it would not expand.

Around 200 residents attended Wates Developments’ public exhibition of its draft plan to build 220 homes off Gravelye Lane, in Lindfield, last Thursday (July 23).

This comes after the developer got the green light to build 230 new homes in 2013 on the edge of Lindfield.

In light of the plan for 220 more homes, Gil Kennedy, chairman of the Lindfield Preservation Society, has pointed out that the Middy reported on May 30 2013 that Wates’ managing director David Brocklebank said there was no intention to extend the development any further than what was being applied for.

Mr Kennedy said: “Wates’ proposal is strangely at odds with assurances they gave the District Council Planning Committee on May 21 2013, when councillors ultimately voted to approve the housing estate now under construction.

“Councillors who voted in favour with this assurance ringing in their ears may have questions of their own for Wates’ management.

“This proposal is a cynical attempt to force a planning permission before the district council has time to complete a reasonable District Plan for housing.”

Around 70 protestors attended the planning committee meeting to hear the decision on Wates’ application in 2013. They said at the time the development would ‘claw away’ at the strategic gap and they were concerned Wates’ would apply to build additional housing in the future.

Simon Knight, associate land and planning director at Wates’, said they greatly value the community input and will carefully consider all feedback that comes in.

He said: “As a company we have great experience of delivering quality projects in Lindfield and feel that the new proposals whilst not only helping Mid Sussex District Council towards meeting its housing need will also be a positive addition to the local community.

“Statements made to the committee in May 2013 were accurate as at that time Wates Developments had no other land interests in Lindfield and therefore no intention of further development. Following discussions with landowners to the east, and in light of continuing housing need, we agreed to pursue a planning application on their behalf. These contracts were signed in 2014 and 2015 and we consider the site to be a very appropriate scheme for mid Sussex given the need for housing has not abated.”