A developer plans to build up to 500 homes which could see Copthorne merge with Crawley.
St Modwen’s proposal promises allotments, land for a school and playing fields on land west of the village as well as £2m which it says could be ring-fenced for Worth parish. An extra £6m would be paid towards education, roads and other services.
Once Crawley’s North East Sector is built, only the M23 would separate Copthorne from Crawley if it goes forward. Two exhibitions are being held this week before a planning application is submitted.
St Modwen planning manager Colin Darby said: “We are keen to hear how the benefits we are able to bring, in terms of amenities and open space, can provide what the village actually needs and wants.
“We will also be explaining how funding, unlocked from our scheme, could be invested back into the Copthorne community. We are keen to explain why a single sustainable development is so much better for Copthorne, for a whole host of reasons, than trying to cram small pockets of development into any and every bit of land in and around the periphery of the village.”
But in a residents’ questionnaire by Worth Parish Council the West of Copthorne came last out of 12 potential housing sites.
Vice chairman of the Copthorne Village Assocation (CVA) Joy Day said: “The Copthorne Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is working hard to identify the most sustainable and suitable development sites in the village.
“It has discounted St Modwen’s proposal and the CVA is thus urging its membership to challenge this proposal and not just agree to let the developers take the lead in exchange for short term cash rewards. We will lose a village which has a strong community atmosphere and a heritage measured more by its people than its buildings.”
Exhibitions are at the Delmar Morgan Centre, Copthorne Bank, on Friday July 12, 4pm to 8pm, and Copthorne Village Hall on Saturday July 13, 10am to 2pm.