Battle to remove unauthorised track from Balcombe land

Plans to to regularise the construction of the track together with the erection of an agricultural barn within the centre of the land. This was refused by the council in 2017.
Plans to to regularise the construction of the track together with the erection of an agricultural barn within the centre of the land. This was refused by the council in 2017.

A two-year battle by Mid Sussex District Council to have an unauthorised track removed from land in Balcombe could end up going to court.

In March 2017, the council was told that a 145m track had been built without planning permission across a field to the east of Crawley Lane.

While an application was later submitted for the track – along with a barn – it was refused by the council, and an Enforcement Notice was issued.

In March this year, the landowner was given permission to keep 55m of the track and to build the barn, though he has yet to do so.

The council’s planning committee is due to meet on Thursday (July 4), in Haywards Heath, where the matter will be discussed.

A report to the committee said no attempt had been made to remove the other 90m of the track.

Officers have recommended that the council be allowed to prosecute the landowner under section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act, which could lead to a maximum fine of £20,000.

A report to the committee said the track was visible from the lane and created an artificial boundary, meaning it was in the public interest to not only pursue the breach of planning control but to protect the character and appearance of the landscape.

It added: “The owner has indicated that he does intend to undertake the works either to comply with the requirements of the notice or else implement the planning permission for the barn by the

end of June 2019.

“Whilst this intention is noted, the breach of planning control has been carried on for two years and that, as no works to or maintenance of the land appear to have taken place in the recent past, the council cannot be certain that any additional deadline would be met.”

The meeting will be held in the council chamber in Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, at 7pm.