Villagers’ fears over plans to convert a garage into a house

Site of garage in Keymer Road, Hassocks, which the owner wants to convert into a house SUS-160601-113525001

Site of garage in Keymer Road, Hassocks, which the owner wants to convert into a house SUS-160601-113525001

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Fears are growing that plans to convert a garage building in Hassocks into a house could pose a threat to road users and pedestrians.

District planners turned down the proposals in July but the owner of the building has now lodged an appeal against the decision.

Villagers are worried because they say that the building - currently used as a garage/storeroom - is only around one metre from the busy Keymer Road and could lead to access problems to Hassocks Station.

They maintain that conversion of the building would damage surrounding land and wildlife as well as pose road safety hazards both during building works and afterwards.

They say there would be ‘massive disruption’ to anyone using Keymer Road and the building is sited in a ‘completely unsuitable location for a house.’

Local resident Ken McCarthy, who has lived in the village for the past 13 years, said: “We recognise the need for new housing and Hassocks is already taking new homes – but this new dwelling would be built within 1metre of the busy Keymer Road, directly underneath mature trees and within 4metres of the Hassocks Lodge estate.

“The build phase would cause huge disruption to those accessing the village, create a dangerous precedent and in the long term would be a hazard to residents and those visiting the village via the pavement or Keymer Road.”

Residents say that Hassocks is the ‘gateway to the South Downs’ and Keymer Road is the road that visitors cross to access the South Downs Way. Hassocks Lodge, they say, is in a prominent position and if the new house is approved it could set a precedent for others to abut Keymer Road.