Villagers' fight to save much-loved Cuckfield play meadow continues

A community which has been fighting to save a play meadow in Cuckfield for five years is urging the council to ‘do what is morally right’.

Despite a High Court battle and a community bid of more than £100,000 to buy the meadow on Courtmead Road, Mid Sussex District Council still want to build a detached house on the land.

Next Step Nursery staff and children outside the meadow. Photo by Steve Robards

Next Step Nursery staff and children outside the meadow. Photo by Steve Robards

A new application has been submitted by the council and is due to be considered at a planning committee meeting tomorrow (Thursday, December 6). It is recommended for approval.

Flis Irving, who has spearheaded the villagers’ battle, said: “The community has been fighting this for five years since the play meadow was padlocked up in 2013.

“This is a conservation area, however the council want to dress it up.

"There is a five-year housing land supply in place since the recent adoption of the District Plan and there are rules to protect a wonderful conservation area like this from development which the council just seem to be totally ignoring.

The play meadow was padlocked off in 2013. Photo by Steve Robards

The play meadow was padlocked off in 2013. Photo by Steve Robards

“They turned down a planning application up the road in a conservation area on those grounds, but land they own themselves, they are prepared to totally ignore that.

"To me, the council this time should do what’s right, not just what’s legally right, but also what’s morally right and that I feel extremely strongly about.”

Janet Beales, who runs Next Step Nursery in the village, said children at the nursery used the play meadow every day up until it was padlocked off in 2013.

She added: “It just seems such a shame that this facility has not only been taken away from the children of our nursery, but also for the Brownies, and the youth club, and anybody else that wanted to have a picnic or exercise their dog.”

Mid Sussex District Council want to build a detached house on the land. Photo by Steve Robards

Mid Sussex District Council want to build a detached house on the land. Photo by Steve Robards

Andrew Burton, chair of planning for Cuckfield Parish Council, said the parish council was dismayed that the district council was ‘choosing again to ignore local opinion and opposition’, as well as the High Court judgements that ‘highlighted the negative impact on the village’.

READ MORE: Shocked Burgess Hill dog owner warns others after labrador eats 3ft of bandage