Protected land in Mannings Heath still ‘vulnerable’ Horsham MP told

JPCT 071013  Francis Maude meeting with local residents concerned about development of 64 homes in Mannings Heath. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 071013 Francis Maude meeting with local residents concerned about development of 64 homes in Mannings Heath. Photo by Derek Martin

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Protected land is still ‘vulnerable’ to housebuilding in and around Mannings Heath campaigners warned as they met MP Francis Maude this week.

Members of Mannings Heath Action Group (MHAG), which boasts around 250 members in the village, met with Mr Maude last Saturday to share their concerns over development on land designated within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

In March this year Danny Pecorelli, managing director of Exclusive Hotels, which runs Mannings Heath Golf Club and South Lodge Hotel, unveiled plans for 64 homes off Winterpit Lane.

Campaigners showed Mr Maude around the site on Saturday and emphasised that allowing development there would set a precedent for housebuilding within the AONB.

Alan Langford, secretary at MHAG, said: “Until local plans are in place, even previously protected land remains vulnerable.

“The MHAG believe that building on AONB land should not be permitted unless there is a clearly demonstrated need and all other alternatives have been exhausted. We’re sure that others will agree.”

Mr Maude added: “Having visited the site, I understand the concerns of the local residents.

“wI hope that the district council can get ahead with their local plan, when planning decisions will reflect what local people want.”

Nuthurst Parish Council is currently looking into producing a Neighbourhood Plan, which would sit alongside Horsham District Council’s Local Development Framework covering the entire district.

Consultation on its preferred draft strategy will close on Friday October 11.

Roger Cato, chairman of MHAG, added that the group had assisted in preparations for a Neighbourhood Plan, and believed it was important this was completed urgently.

A planning application has yet to be submitted for the site.