Once again, Wates has submitted an application to build houses on the margins of Lindfield before the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan makes their proposal unviable.
They used this approach to gain approval for their previous development off Gravelye Lane and are now repeating the process, as they openly admitted at the packed meeting of concerned residents held in Lindfield on January 6. They also indicated that they would not respect the outcome of the referendum to approve the Neighbourhood Plan, stating that the need for additional housing in Mid Sussex, as mandated by Central Government and Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) targets, overrides local plans and residents’ democratically expressed wishes.
At a recent council meeting, MSDC rejected an Independent Examiners report regarding the eastern limit of the Haywards Heath/Lindfield Built Up Area, and accepted that this should be Gravelye Lane plus those housing areas already granted planning permission. The Wates proposal clearly does not meet this criteria and should be rejected on this basis alone. The Neighbourhood Plan must be adopted before any major new applications, such as Wates’ can be considered. The same criteria should be applied to the mooted development on fields at the southeast corner of Gravelye Lane and Lewes Road.
It is vital to protect the rural character of this part of Sussex and allowing the Wates proposal to proceed would effectively destroy the concept of strategic gaps between the villages. The result would be an ever increasing expansion of housing eastwards towards Scaynes Hill, and MDSC and the Lindfield parishes would be powerless to oppose it. The effect on the environment and traffic of Wates’ development and the others that would follow if their application succeeds, is entirely predictable and wholly negative.
MDSC should make crystal clear to all property developers that the borders of built up areas as defined in Neighbourhood Plans will be respected and all new housing requirements must be accommodated entirely within these boundaries.
Gravelye Lane, Lindfield
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