Flooded homes fear as scheme is rejected

Protestors from Dunlop Close, Sayers Common in a back garden of one of the residents, with a view across the fields that will be built on, in the background.

Protestors from Dunlop Close, Sayers Common in a back garden of one of the residents, with a view across the fields that will be built on, in the background.

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An outline plan for 120 new homes and a nursing home that could increase the size of Sayers Common by 40 per cent has been thrown out by district councillors.

Chairman of Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common Parish Council, John Wilkinson said: “In Sayers Common there are no doctors’ surgeries, no dentists, no retail shops, no banks, no schools - everything is going to depend on the car.”

He added: “Hurstpierpoint is the nearest village with shops, where the High Street is already gridlocked and the nearest station at Hassocks is jammed solid with cars.”

Cllr Wilkinson made his hard-hitting comments at a meeting of the District Planning Committee last Thursday, which considered an outline scheme by Woodcock Holdings for a development off Kingsland Laines.

A similar scheme by the developer was rejected by district councillors in October 2012 and is subject to an appeal in June.

Although the developer has offered some money towards education needs, Cllr Colin Trumble said neighbouring schools were already under pressure.

He said: “Albourne Primary School is at capacity and Downlands secondary school in Hassocks is at 98 capacity.”

Thirty per cent of the homes in the scheme are designated as ‘affordable’ and a spokesman for the developer said: “Affordable homes will make an important contribution to the district council’s housing deficit.”

However, the draft Neighbourhood Plan envisages just 30 to 40 new homes for Sayers Common over the next 20 years because of the village’s lack of amenities and drainage problems.

Concerns were expressed at the meeting about potential flooding on the water-logged site after a history of overflow problems at nearby Dunlop Close.

Resident Jenny Sweet said: “Localism is absent from this application and it has made villagers very angry.”

District councillor Phillip Coote predicted: “People could be left with flooding in their homes. I spent most of my working life as a civil engineer diverting water courses. If you dig foundations the water is dispersed elsewhere.”

District planners, who believe flooding issues could be mitigated if drainage channels on the site are adopted by the council, recommended refusal on the grounds that the access road off the B2118 London Road is too close to a listed 17th century building, ‘Aymers and Sayers’.

Councillors expressed regret that officers were putting “all their eggs in one basket” in the event of an appeal.