Thursday, 5 March 2015

Housing estate on Friars Oak Fields? Make your views known by 27 March

We only have until 27 March to think about what a large housing estate planned for London Road, in addition to possible sites at Ham Fields and the golf course, would mean for Hassocks. After that it might be too late to stop it.

Rydon Homes wants to build 140 homes on several fields stretching north and east from the Friars Oak pub, and they have applied before the parish council has got its neighbourhood plan sorted, as the fields could then be officially designated as local green space.

You may say ‘but the south-east needs more homes, and anyway it would be good for local businesses’, and up to a point that is true. But many people think Hassocks is a daft place to build lots more houses. Why? Because our schools and health services are full, having already been expanded after the Clayton Mills estate was built. And because there’s only one road across the railway, causing congestion at peak times at Stonepound – Mid Sussex’s only official pollution blackspot (air quality management area).

Even if you do think Hassocks needs a lot more homes, building on Friars Oak Fields just doesn’t make sense, unless of course you are the landowner or the developer (developers love green-field sites, because they’re cheaper to build on).

Why not build on Friars Oak Fields? Because they flood; they’re accessible green space that have been used by families for decades; they’re a haven for wildlife; they’re next to a dangerous rail pedestrian crossing; they form part of the gap that separates the village from Burgess Hill, helping make Hassocks a coherent community. And because doing so will put even more pressure on London Rd and Stonepound; many more people will drive to work or to the station, and many of the kids from a new estate would be driven to school (that’s if they get a school place in Hassocks; if they don’t, that destroys the district council’s stated aim of building coherent communities).
So, please, search online for Mid Sussex online planning register, look up DM/15/0626 and use the comment button to tell the council what you think, by Friday 27 March.