“Still fighting after all these years”

Almost a hundred residents came together to protest with banners and posters in Fox Hill in February. Picture: Derek Martin
Almost a hundred residents came together to protest with banners and posters in Fox Hill in February. Picture: Derek Martin
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Residents in Haywards Heath say they are ‘devastated but determined’ after fresh plans to build 151 new homes.

Having felt like their homes have been ‘under attack’, the residents in Gamblemead, Fox Hill must now wait until a decision is made by the district council – following submission of a full planning application by Linden Homes.

Adrian Warwick and Stephanie Went on the ordered protest walk. Picture: Derek Martin

Adrian Warwick and Stephanie Went on the ordered protest walk. Picture: Derek Martin

Adrian Warwick, 80, who has lived in Fox Hill for 42 years, said: “We are still fighting after all these years. We are devastated but determined.

“After almost six months we were finally granted separate meetings with both Linden Homes and politicians including our MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

“Both these recommended and long delayed meetings have come and gone, with the general consensus being that this latest plan is no improvement, and in many ways is worse.

“The general feeling is that this new plan does not address all our concerns and where there may be a token compromise given it amounts to nothing since it then impacts the greater on other near neighbours. This of course is the very thing we had stressed should be avoided all along.

“Fortunately we have been able to offer a number of serious alternative suggestions to rectify that particular situation without disturbing the developers’ essential plan, and more importantly not impacting the further upon any other neighbours.

“But will they listen? We can only wait and see – our date with destiny will be sometime in early May. So it would be true to say that our fight goes on – but it does not get any easier.”

The retired 80-year-old previously helped submit a petition opposing the original 99 home proposal, which gained 512 signatures.

The outline approval for 99 homes was granted by Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee in February last year, despite concerns over flooding, traffic, and the effect on an area of countryside outside of the town.

Stephanie Went, 54, moved to Fox Hill for the semi-rural lifestyle.

She previously organised an ordered protest walk in February this year, which attracted almost 100 unhappy residents.

She said: “With councillors that simply put their hands up to pass these plans whilst indicating that they aren’t the experts and don’t have sufficient information in front of them to answer their questions, we have no chance. Who is pulling their strings?”

MPs, councillors and communities are united in their opposition to the new development targets imposed on Mid Sussex.

The Middy is supporting the campaign to Keep Mid Sussex Green.

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