There was standing room only last night (Thursday) as more than 200 people filled Lindfield’s King Edward Hall to voice their opposition to proposals for a new 230-home estate.
One speaker after another opposed the proposals by Wates Developments for greenfields off Gravelye Lane, abutting the borders of Scaynes Hill and Haywards Heath.
Representatives from Wates, including the site’s architect and transport consultant, spoke about its needs, merit and attractiveness including its design that fitted in with the “Haywards Heath vernacular”, but were frequently interrupted by sceptical residents.
Speakers argued for the need to challenge the argument that extra houses were needed at all when schools and health centres were already at capacity. And they urged all local residents to write individually to Mid Sussex District Council to oppose the plan.
Gravelye Lane resident John Ely urged people to sign the petitions that he had started and which would be delivered to Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames, calling on him to also oppose the Wates proposal.
Lindfield Preservation Society member John Jessop said the ambitions of the development company could finally total as many as 500 homes on the land off Gravelye Lane and Scamps Hill, acording to its own website.
Mr Jessop said the preservation society had in mind “sympathic” development for Lindfield, whereas this would be building on a greenfield site that had been deemed unsuitable by planning inspectors on numerous occasions before, and would create more rat-runs in the village streets.
Fellow society member Gil Kennedy added: “One thing is clear this evening: if we don’t help ourselves, no one else will.”
Members of the public also spoke of flooding in the village already, from new developments that had been built, and warned that the proposed estate off Gravelye Lane would combine Lindfield, Haywards Heath and Scaynes Hill into a mass of housing with another 3,000 people and 400 cars.
A traffic consultant for Wates said the access road on to the proposed estate, which was already the access road to a new estate currently being built, was “over designed”. It was six-metres wide and capable of taking additional traffic.
“We really have not tried to duck the existing issues; what we have tried to come up with is something to help solve them,” he said.
Local resident and barrister Bill Nicole warned that various companies had been trying to build more houses in Lindfield for in excess of 25 years, and only by fighting would people be able to achievement something manageable.
Mr Nicole told the meeting: “You might as well know that you are in a fight from the word go and get together all your resources.”
He added: “This is a large local battle - let’s not pretend otherwise; the whole of Lindfield life as you have known it - as I have for over 40 years - is at risk.”
To contact the campaign or sign the petitions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the proposal can be found at the following link Mid Sussex District Council on the MSDC website under the Planning Portal and application number 12/04316/FUL.