‘Unconvinced’ by ‘high quality’ housing plan for Haywards Heath

Residents opposed to proposed new housing off Birchen Way, Haywards Heath. Fields beyond are part of site. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140218-132412001
Residents opposed to proposed new housing off Birchen Way, Haywards Heath. Fields beyond are part of site. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140218-132412001

A housing plan in Haywards Heath have been blasted by a campaigner as an unconvincing aim to circumvent listed building restrictions.

Crest Nicholson has revised its application to build on land north of Birchen Lane.

“This is the third application in a row for essentially identical housing schemes”

The new application has a reduced number of houses, 48 down to 40, removed access via Birchen Lane, apart from emergency vehicles, and the field to the south of the site will no longer be developed.

A spokesperson for Crest Nicholson said these changes will ensure any potential impact on the setting of nearby Grade II-listed Sunte House is removed.

But Miles Mayall, spokesperson for Save Birchen Fields Action Group, said campaigners have been left ‘unconvinced’ by the plans because they still involved the build of a road and play park near Sunte House.

“This is the third application in a row for essentially identical housing schemes.

“This one’s been reduced a little bit in the hope it will allow them to circumvent the restrictions in relation to Sunte House.

“The previous two applications generated something like 900 letters of objection from local residents.”

He added that he was concerned the developer would also need to build utilities somewhere and he hoped this would not be in field near Sunte House.

His other concerns, just like with prvious application, include; flooding; loss of hedge rows; and congestion.

He added: “We are far from thinking the changes meet the residents’ concerns over these.”

A spokesperson for Crest said it undertook ‘further technical investigations’ which found there is a ‘low risk of potential flooding from the development’.

Robin Hoyles, group land and planning director of Crest Nicholson, said: “We remain committed to understanding local issues and considering local residents’ concerns. As a result of the consultation, we have a proposal that will be of benefit to, and provide enjoyment for, both our existing neighbours and future residents.

“We are committed to maintaining and preserving the natural elements on the site through the protection of Birchen Wood and the creation of a habitat and wildlife corridor. ”

A spokesperson for Crest Nicholson added: “Crest Nicholson has a long established reputation for building high quality homes in the Haywards Heath region. Previous schemes include Bolnore Village, which exemplifies Crest Nicholson’s commitment to creating well designed and sustainable communities.

“Well established streets, an active village centre, parks and public areas combine at Bolnore Village to create a fine example of a high quality, sustainable community for which Crest Nicholson is renowned.”

Mr Mayall said he felt the planning system was ‘unfair’ because developer can keep coming back with amended plans.

“These guys can go on chipping away at it forever. If the residents lose once, they lose, they the developers lose once, they can come back again and again.”

Any residents wishing to object to the application should visit the action group’s website for tips www.savebirchenfields.co.uk