What is the Vision for our Town?
I am shocked like many residents that Birchen Fields and Sunte House have been given the go ahead for development by the Planning Inspectorate. Yet again, cul-de sacs are being transformed into through roads for further development. Birchen Fields and the footpath ‘Hollow way’ close to Wickham Farmhouse provide a lovely historical amenity for walkers and a welcome break from the Town. But unfortunately despite having two Grade II* listed buildings adjacent to each other, the planning inspector has allowed these appeals to go ahead. Will Wickham Field and Haywards Heath Golf Course be next? as another Crest Nicholson development emerges on the horizon. It seems that Crest Nicholson is the gatekeeper for all entry points into the town.
We are losing our rural district character because MSDC cannot produce an acceptable District Plan. As the Planning Inspector has highlighted, the last plan for the district was 2004. Will the District Plan submitted in August 2016 cut the mustard? It did not sway the Planning Inspectorate they cited the absence of a District Plan and land supply document in their August 2016 report. Many residents are asking whether the delay with the district plan is deliberate, so that it allows all this unpopular planning to go ahead unheeded.
Where is the co-ordinated ‘Vision for the Town’? Both Birchen Fields and Sunte House were excluded from development in the Neighbourhood Plan. Is the vision for the town driven by developers and where they want to build? Where is the localism in that? Where is the point of a Neighbourhood Plan that does not represent local taxpayer’s wishes?
Neither MSDC nor WSCC consider the cumulative impact that all this development will have on our infrastructure. Build within the town, together with the building approvals for Lindfield, Cuckfield and Ansty etc all rely on using Haywards Heath rail station and the town’s supermarkets etc where will everyone park? The roads into the town are Victorian or earlier and were never meant for the current volume of traffic, let alone the traffic from the thousands of new homes being proposed.
We do not have enough school provision and the closing of Central Sussex College exacerbates the problem. The market for these new homes is London, but these new owners will expect education choice and for this to be provided by WSCC. They will also expect a decent transport system. There is no transport hub for buses and one bus an hour will not suffice.
What we have is large scale housing but no vision and no infrastructure to support this planned growth for the town. Whatever happened to town planners?
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