Road could be blocked up as part of Haywards Heath scheme

Rocky Lane closed as work progresses on the new roundabout and bridge over the railway. Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120140115094752
Rocky Lane closed as work progresses on the new roundabout and bridge over the railway. Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120140115094752
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A court will decide if a road should be blocked off to form a nature area – in the final part of a multi-million pound scheme.

The final stage of the Haywards Heath relief road, which bypasses the town, has been completed.

But a section of Rocky Lane is ‘no longer required’ and West Sussex County Council is seeking permission to make an application to the Magistrates Court to ‘stop up the highway’.

The court application is expected to cost between £2,500 and £5,000 – but developer Crest Nicholson said it will reimburse the council for the costs.

A council report states: “The option of retaining the land as highway was discounted because the land is no longer suitable for highway use.

“The road construction has been removed and replaced with soil in order to re-naturalise the area. Gradients are too steep for safe use by highway users.”

The land to be stopped up is next to the local nature area, set aside as part of the Bolnore Village development.

It will form part of the nature area next to the housing estate ‘once vegetation takes hold’. The council has also said the banks of the old road have been kept, as they provide an ‘important habitat’ for wildlife.

If the application is successful, highway rights will be removed from the land and the Highway Authority’s control, and liability and responsibility for the land will revert to the landowner.

However, if magistrates refuse to consent to the stopping-up – which the council states is ‘highly unlikely’ – the county council said it could make orders to restrict access to the stopped up land so it becomes a pedestrian only route.

The redundant section of Rocky Lane starts 63m to the west of the railway line, ending 204m to the west of the railway line. However part of the road to the east of the railway will still provide access to properties on the road.

Permission for the relief road was granted following a public inquiry by a government planning inspector. It was hoped the scheme, which has cost more than £6m, would ease the traffic pressure on the town centre.