Balcombe homes and village car park refused

Plans to build 17 homes and a village car park in Balcombe have been refused by Mid Sussex District Council.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 12:57 pm
Proposed layout of the Balcombe development

The application, for land adjacent to Balcombe House, London Road, was turned down on the grounds that the mixture of housing proposed did not comply with the Balcombe Neighbourhood Plan.

Submitted by Shanly Homes Limited, the plans included two one-bedroom flats, three two-bedroom flats, 11 three-bedroom houses and one four-bedroom house, with five of the homes classed as affordable.

Access would be off of Haywards Heath Road and would also lead to a public car park for ten cars.

During a meeting of the planning committee, chairman Gary Marsh (Con, Ardingly & Balcombe) said there had been a ‘breakdown in communication’ over what was actually wanted for the site.

He added: “I do know Balcombe Parish Council are very, shall we say, miffed – which is a polite way of saying they are very unhappy there are no smaller houses on this site.

“These houses are not designed for the people in my village.

“These are designed for people who live outside the village to come into the village, to expand the village – not to downsize and then release four, five and six-bedroom houses within the village, which is what we wanted on this site.”

Another concern raised during the meeting was the fact the car park was not closer to the village centre and did not have its own access road.

Nicky Gould, speaking as a resident rather than a parish councillor, said: “The parish council has no interest in taking on a car park that does not meet requirements for supporting the village centre shops and facilities.

“Access to the car park running past the houses and flats via a single entrance from the road is not acceptable.

“We need the car park to be visible from the road. We need the access to be separate from the development.”

While councillors refused the application by six votes to one, that may not be the end of the story.

Planning officers warned that there may not be enough evidence to justify a refusal should the applicant appeal the decision.

And the council’s legal officer warned that the Neighbourhood Plan only carried limited weight and they would need ‘a very sympathetic planning officer’ to win that appeal