Residents were delighted when councillors went against recommendation from planning officers and denied permission for seven new homes to be built in Haywards Heath.
In response to concerns raised by public speakers about over development, appearance, noise pollution and privacy, councillors voted to refuse permission on the land to the rear of 22 Gower Road by eight votes to two at Mid Sussex Planning Committee last Thursday (April 17).
Councillor Russell Martin refused the proposal on the grounds that “needing redevelopment is no excuse to build the slums of tomorrow today”.
After councillors voted against it, neighbour to the planned development Sue Harrison said: “We’re delighted, it’s going to make a huge difference.
“The designs of the houses are disgusting.
“We also have serious concerns about flooding, the Victorian drainage is always getting blocked.”
A spokesman for Trendlebere Investments responded to issues with their proposal.
He said: “A lot of thought has been put in, it’s carefully designed with no overlooking.”
He added that he thinks it is an efficient use of land and a good density for a town centre.
The development is listed in the Haywards Heath Draft Neighbourhood Plan for 2014 and so supported by the Town Council.
Councillor Pru Moore, who refused the proposal, said the density is not appropriate for Haywards Heath as residents would be “packed in like sardines” in houses comparable to “an IKEA flatpack that smacks of Crawley”.
Case officer Sarah Sheath had no objections to the plan.
She said that the contemporary flat roofs reduce the visual impact.
“It is not felt that it is overbearing on existing properties,” she added.
“You expect overlooking buildings in a built up area.”
Councillor Graham Knight said that 40 units per hectare, as proposed in the plan, is too high.
“We know what it looks like, it looks crammed,” he explained.
“People are living on top of each other.”
He said that the high density would be a risk to residents’ mental and physical health, adding: “It looks like an advert for Homebase, it doesn’t need to be ugly.
“Are they fit for purpose? I doubt it.
“I don’t think it hits our design standards, it isn’t a quality design.
“It isn’t there yet,” he concluded.
Developers intended to knock down Dulux Decorator Centre and a glass shop to make way for the new homes.
One public speaker said: “The council has a moral obligation to preserve commercial units.”
He also said that there would be more foot traffic which worries him because of the amount of children regularly walking to and from school in the area.
Neighbour to the proposed development Mike Wilson told the Mid Sussex Times he worries for kids who play in the area, as the site would have a blind entrance for traffic.
He also described the development as “slum like”, and said he fears added noise pollution.
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