Angry villagers have formed a super group to fight plans for 160 more houses in Henfield due to be submitted by Barratt Homes.
The developer’s bid for a new estate on land off West End Lane has already sparked a new campaign group into action, No West End Lane Development (NO WELD), with 147 ‘likes’ on its Facebook page.
Barratt said an application would be submitted within the next few weeks and would be considering constructive feedback it received from residents.
However, having seen Horsham District Council’s decision to deny Welbeck Land permission to build 102 properties on a site east of Manor Close overturned on appeal, and facing the possibility of a new market town between Henfield and Sayers Common, the threat of more house building has spurred residents into action.
Carol Eastwood, chairman of Henfield’s Own Preservation Society, said: “If you want to save your village please get involved.”
She added: “We are going to pool all our resources together and all our groups together and we are going to fight it in a united front.”
While Simon Andrews, chair of NO WELD, said that describing Henfield as ‘under siege’ may be going too far, he pointed out that this would constitute the first major development west of the old railway line, and could be setting a dangerous precedent.
“We’re concerned by the fact that to develop en masse west of the railway line will have a massive effect on the infrastructure of Henfield, opening up other land for wider development in Henfield and in the Horsham district,” he said.
“We want to keep emotion out of it and look at pure capacity, but we feel it’s one step too far.”
Philip Hill, clerk of Henfield Parish Council, said the council had met with Barratt Homes, and had requested a public exhibition, which saw more than 250 residents attend last month.
When an application is submitted to HDC, the parish council would give its views as a consultee in the planning process.
Robert Phillips, planning manager for Barratt Southern Counties, said: “We received a good deal of feedback and value the constructive comments and opinions of the local community.”
He added: “Barratt will consider all constructive feedback received and how this can inform the proposals for land at West End Lane.”
A spokesperson for HDC could not confirm whether any pre-application meetings had been held between officers and Barratt Homes.
For more information visit NO WELD’s website at www.noweld.org.uk