A ‘speculative application’ for 160 homes west of Henfield was rejected by planners on Tuesday, delighting campaigners fighting for their village.
Residents packed out the council chambers and held a demonstration outside Horsham District Council’s offices on Tuesday morning before the planning meeting.
Barratt Homes’ plan would have seen 160 homes built off West End Lane, but the council’s Development Control South Committee rejected it on the grounds of over development in a rural area.
Simon Andrews, leader of Hands off Henfield, said: “We are pleased to get a unanimous decision from the council. Obviously it’s a battle that’s been won and not the war.
“We anticipate the developers will appeal. However it could be us that sets the precedent and wins an appeal.”
He praised the ‘huge village effort’ and thanked everybody in Henfield who had contributed towards the campaign.
Others said it was fantastic to see the application rejected, with loud applause when the decision to reject the application was announced.
During the meeting Sheila Matthews (Ind, Henfield) described the scheme as overbearing and thought it would create an urban sprawl.
Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) told members that new homes being built in Henfield were not selling, and the 160 homes did not fit in with what surrounded the site.
He added: “This is a totally speculative application.”
Ray Osgood, a Henfield parish councillor but speaking in a personal capacity, called Sussex villages such as Henfield ‘our cathedrals’.
He explained: “If we allow unrestrained development it will never be torn down.”
Elizabeth Taylor, speaking for Henfield Parish Council, called the development unnecessary, unsustainable and undesirable.
She pointed out that the primary school was ‘overloaded’, the leisure centre was reaching ‘saturation point’ and the access road would be inadequate given the size of the scheme.
Roger Minost, an objector, said: “This is not a plea for no development. We are asking for time to prepare the neighbourhood development plan that will benefit all residents not just a single developer.”
Roger Arthur (UKIP, Chanctonbury) said: “Once again we need to give time for the local Neighbourhood Plans to be completed.
“I suggest once again we make localism work and we support the officer’s recommendation.”
Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) asked officers whether they were confident HDC could defend the application on appeal.
Officers suggested that given the numerous objections from internal consultants they would have a good chance of defending it.