Unsung hero councillor praised for backing residents against housing plan

Cllr Andrew Lea thanked by Lindfield residents for his work helping a controversial development to be turned down. Pic Steve Robards SR1526101 SUS-151117-183916001
Cllr Andrew Lea thanked by Lindfield residents for his work helping a controversial development to be turned down. Pic Steve Robards SR1526101 SUS-151117-183916001
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Campaigners have thanked an unsung hero councillor who helped to prevent approval of an unpopular development in Haywards Heath.

Andrew Lea, who represents Lindfield, has been commended for his role in Mid Sussex District Council’s decision to reject plans for 40 homes north of Birchen Lane.

The application received nearly 400 objections from unhappy locals, but was recommended for approval by planning officers.

Resident Fiona Tyson said Mr Lea has worked alongside fellow councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards to support locals, and deserved recognition for his efforts.

She said: “He has always been there for us, helping and finding things out. I can’t thank him enough.

“They have worked so hard between them and spoke so eloquently at the meeting.

“This is something they do as an extra, and we couldn’t have done it without those councillors.”

Mr Lea said representing residents is a ‘great pleasure’.

He said: “I am always conscious that, as a councillor, I am elected to represent the residents of my ward.

“So one of the most satisfying things one can do as a councillor is to actually represent those residents, and it is always a great pleasure when residents feel that is what you have done.

“Whilst the national planning policy framework is set by central government, councillors are involved in planning at several levels, from the district plan through to individual applications, so it is natural and sensible for people to contact their ward councillors when they have planning concerns.

“Residents will have an opportunity to express their strength of feeling on these matters when the Lindfield plan comes to referendum.”

Councillors gave the thumbs down to the proposal at a planning committee meeting on October 29.

Residents packed out the public gallery and over-spilled into a separate room to hear the decision.

At the meeting, Mr Ash-Edwards, councillor for Haywards Heath, and Mr Lea were among those to speak out against the proposed development.

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