Could Hurst become a ‘Greater Burgess Hill’?

Proposed site for new homes off Chalkers Lane, Hurst
Proposed site for new homes off Chalkers Lane, Hurst

An outline scheme for 57 homes off Chalkers Lane, Hurstpierpoint has been approved, despite concerns over the village becoming part of ‘Greater Burgess Hill’.

The scheme with 17 affordable homes, some bungalows for older people, an extension to Fairfield Recreation Ground and money for a new pavilion has been approved by the majority of councillors on the District Planning Committee, which met last Thursday.

But, John Wilkinson, who chairs Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common Parish Council urged councillors to hold back on making any decision until the Secretary of State for Planning has assessed three separate, large scale schemes for the village, which have been called in for further scrutiny.

Proposals for 120 hew homes at Kingsland Laines, Sayers Common; 81 homes off College Lane and 157 homes at Little Park and Highfield Drive have been called in and a decision is expected in the spring.

A developer has recently been canvassing residents about another potential scheme - 90 homes at Kemps Farm, north of Orchard Way.

John Wilkinson warned district councillors: “If all these houses go ahead this could make Hurstpierpoint a small town.”

District councillor for the village, John Trundle said: “I was talking to Paul Dyer, the head teacher at St Lawrence Primary School just before Christmas and he told me there are 82 children at entry level. That means there are just eight places left out of a possible 90. We do have major infrastructure problems if all these houses are built.”

However, chairman of the District Planning Committee, Andrew MacNaughton, reminded members that school places were not their responsibility. He said the county’s education authority would ask for contributions towards expanding primary and secondary places.

Supporting the Chalkers Lane application, Councillor Edward Matthews, said: “This is well thought out and gives positive benefits by providing 30 per cent affordable housing.”

Cllr Peter Martin added: “I think this is one of the better applications I’ve seen but it is a concern with the number of potential houses talked about.

“If all these schemes are approved, Hurstpierpoint is going to be a little town and we will be well on the way to becoming greater Burgess Hill.”