Tuesday, 23 July 2019

FUTURE OF FRIARS OAK FIELDS TO BE DECIDED AT MID SUSSEX DISTRICT PLANNING COMMITTEE 25.7.19: HERE'S WHY COUNCILLORS SHOULD REJECT RYDON'S APPLICATION

  • The planning process must not just be fair and democratic: it must be seen to be fair and democratic. Why was an extra committee date added on 25 July? Why are Rydon Homes in such a hurry ahead of a decision being made on their appeal on their previous, almost identical application? To avoid Hassocks’ democratic Neighbourhood Plan having more ‘weight’ at a later stage?
  • Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee rejected the previous application because it conflicted with the policies in the MSDC District Plan for 2014-2031. What on earth is the expensive District Plan for, if it can be ignored by developers? 
  • The only change to the new application is the possibility of a pedestrian tunnel under the railway. No design for a tunnel has been created. Consultees have not been given the opportunity to comment on the design. As Network Rail does not know how much a tunnel will cost, it is unknown whether the cost may prevent a tunnel from going ahead. How can the DPC possibly give permission when the tunnel is completely undefined and has not been consulted upon? The tunnel is NOT at the heart of the matter. It is a peripheral detail. It is an excuse to submit the same planning application that has already been refused by the DPC.
  • All the reasons why the second planning application was refused are still valid.
  • The housing need for the district has been met, especially since the imposition of a 500-home 'strategic site' in Hassocks. The DP explicitly says that Hassocks will not be required to take more housing. Hassocks does not have the infrastructure to cope with yet another application.
  • Hassocks Neighbourhood Plan has made an important step, attracting significant planning determination weight, by progressing to Regulation 16 Consultation on Monday 22 July 2019, having been accepted by MSDC under Regulation 15.
  • Two other major estates are going ahead nearby in Hassocks on London Rd: the golf course opposite the proposed entrance to the new site, and Ham Fields. Also, 3,500 homes are being built a short way up the road in Burgess Hill - the effect on Stonepound traffic congestion and air pollution will be very severe indeed. There will still only be one road across the railway that divides the village. 
  • FOFRA has provided MSDC with folders full of public responses indicating that the fields are a much-loved source of Local Green Space. The fields were voted by residents as their first choice for Local Green Space as part of the democratic Neighbourhood Plan process. 
  • The site is unsuitable for a housing estate as it is a flood plain and floods during wet winters; there are also concerns that flood mitigation at the new site will effectively dam the Herring Stream, making flooding in existing housing more likely.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Rydon submits third planning application for large estate on Friars Oak Fields - act now!

Hassocks is once again threatened by crazy over-development, with potentially many more than 1,000 new homes in the area - but no new roads or schools. There will still only be one road across the railway that divides the village.

Each of us has until Friday 21 June 2019 to object. Please write in your own words to object (details below).

The reasons why this proposal must be opposed are clear:

Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee has ALREADY TURNED IT DOWN. The basic reason why councillors rejected it in November 2018 was that it conflicted with the countryside policies and other policies contained in the MSDC District Plan for 2014-2031. What on earth is the expensive District Plan for, if it can be ignored by developers? 

The housing need for the district HAS BEEN MET, especially since the imposition of a 500-home 'strategic site' in Hassocks, north of Clayton Mills.

The new application is almost identical to the rejected second planning application (the first was rejected by the housing minister) but it proposes a pedestrian tunnel under the railway. All the reasons why the second planning application was refused are still valid.

Hassocks' democratically-decided and legally sound Neighbourhood Plan, which has been held by MSDC since June 2016, designated Friars Oak Fields as Local Green Space. 

The site has been consistently opposed by the local MP, Nick Herbert.

Two other major estates are going ahead on a short stretch of London Rd alone - the golf course opposite the proposed entrance to the new site, and Ham Fields, next to Stonepound Crossroads. Stonepound Crossroads is the only Air Quality Management Area (pollution zone) in Mid Sussex. Nitrogen dioxide levels have been illegal there for years, and MSDC has a moral and legal duty to reduce pollution there, not increase it by permitting several new housing estates on the road leading to it. Also, 3,500 homes are being built up the road in Burgess Hill - the effect on Stonepound congestion will be very severe. 

The site is a flood plain and floods during wet winters; there are also concerns that flood mitigation at the new site will effectively dam the Herring Stream, making flooding in the Shepherds Walk area more likely.

To see all the relevant documents, go to https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/planning-building/view-and-comment-on-planning-applications/.

What do we all need to do?
Please write to MSDC before 21st June 2019. You must include your name and address plus the planning reference number.

Title: Planning reference number DM/19/1897
Email: planninginfo@midsussex.gov.uk
Post to:
Planning Department
MSDC
Oaklands Road
Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH16 1SS