Fears for 500 homes on Haywards Heath farmland

Haywards Heath residents are being warned of more plans to sell off farmland on their boundaries for up to 500 homes.

Penland Farm off Hanlye and Penland roads is known about as a speculative site and a ‘concept masterplan’ has been seen online showing 325 homes.

land opposite Hanlye Lane, near borde hill

land opposite Hanlye Lane, near borde hill

Now land owner Borde Hill Estate has also given notice of Sugworth Farm, on the other side of Borde Hill Road, as a further addition to the land mass that could become housing on the north side of Haywards Heath.

Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council, within whose boundary the Sugworth Farm land falls, said it had been told the site could accommodate 175 homes. It was notified just days before the cut-off for its neighbourhood plan consultation mornings on June 1 and 8.

And although Sugworth Farm is within Ansty and Staplefield parish boundaries, the effect of a new 175-home estate would be felt most by residents of Haywards Heath whose homes abut the expanse of farmland.

The parish is now planning to arrange a meeting with Haywards Heath Town Council to decide the way forward in terms of consulting people and seeking their views for their neighbourhood plans.

land opposite Hanlye Lane, near borde hill

land opposite Hanlye Lane, near borde hill

Ansty and Staplefield, which is the largest parish in West Sussex in terms of land area but which only has 800 homes at the moment, is already taking in the Sandrocks site in Haywards Heath and the proposed Burgess Hill Northern Arc of 4,500 homes.

Yet Ansty village itself is subject to 11 sites put forward by landowners for the neighbourhood plan consultation process, with two more affecting Staplefield, while Sugworth Farm falls into the parish’s Brook Street and Borde Hill ward.

The parish council has now issued a questionaire asking parishioners for their views on all the potential sites, including Sugworth Farm.

Parish council chairman Brad Williams said: “We know people are pretty upset about Sugworth Farm but we will now have to consider that site in our neighbourhood plan. The problem is the site is in our parish but the people who are going to object to it don’t live in our parish.”

Haywards Heath Town Council clerk Steve Trice said councillors had made clear they wanted to utilise brownfield sites for housing needs before any greenfield sites such as Penland Farm. He said: “We are aware that there is interest in Penland Farm and Sugworth Farm but have seen no plans at the moment.”

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