Haywards Heath 48 homes plan ‘unacceptable’

Residents opposed to proposed new housing off Birchen Way, Haywards Heath. Fields beyond are part of site. Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120140502104751
Residents opposed to proposed new housing off Birchen Way, Haywards Heath. Fields beyond are part of site. Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120140502104751

A ‘green corridor’ could be transformed if plans to build 48 new homes in Haywards Heath get the green light.

Campaigners for the Birchen Fields Action group are objecting to plans to develop land north of Birchen Lane in Haywards Heath.

The application by developers Crest Nicholson was resubmitted to Mid Sussex District Council in December – 11 months after the developers’ first bid for the development.

Now campaigners are calling for the 400 objection letters written against the first planning application to be resubmitted by residents and dozens have already criticised the plans.

Eric Bassett, chairman of Haywards Heath Society, has spoken out in support of the action group.

Mr Bassett said: “In general, the society regards this proposal as another unwarranted and unnecessary incursion into the rural areas surrounding the town.”

He added that the proposed scheme ‘seeks to eat into the countryside’ placing ‘unacceptable burdens upon the town and its services’.

Mr Bassett highlighted the issues of congestion to the town, the effect of development on wildlife and said the large detached properties would be ‘unlikely to serve local needs’.

Roberta Burton, of Gatestmead, Haywards Heath, added that the proposals would also damage ‘the rural character ‘of Lindfield and Cuckfield.

She said: “The cumulative effect of developments in the area will have a great impact on local schools and medical facilities who will struggle to cope with the influx of families moving the area.”

Sarah Brooke, who has lived in the area for 55 years, lives near the proposed site.

She wrote: “The traffic along College Road is already a big problem at certain times of the day and this development will make things even worse with more delays.”

The planning application outlines proposals for 48 new homes with new access roads.

If plans go ahead, there will be 14 affordable homes – which will not be ‘distinguished’ from the other houses.

The planning statement describes the site which ‘comprises countryside land’ as a ‘sensible, logical and sustainable’ location for the extension of a town.

Developers have considered the ‘impact of additional traffic movements’ into and out of the application site – with the impact to Birchen Lane being ‘imperceptible’ and the increase in movement along Gateshead ‘more noticeable’.

The site, which includes woodland, borders listed buildings at Sunte House.

The plans will be debated by Mid Sussex district councillors by the end of March this year.