Nearly 300 new homes for Hassocks up for approval

Artist's impression of the proposed new homes on land known as Friars Oak Fields in Hassocks.
Artist's impression of the proposed new homes on land known as Friars Oak Fields in Hassocks.

Plans for almost 300 new homes in Hassocks across two sites could be approved later this week.

Rydon Homes wants permission for 130 dwellings on Friars Oak Fields off London Road, while Bellway is looking to redevelop Hassocks Golf Club to provide 165 new units.

Hassocks Golf Club SUS-160427-153823001

Hassocks Golf Club SUS-160427-153823001

The two applications are due to be discussed by Mid Sussex District Council’s District Planning Committee on Thursday (November 29).

Both schemes are recommended for approval by planning officers.

Rydon was originally given permission by the council to develop Friars Oak Fields by the council back in October 2016, but this decision was called-in by the secretary of state.

The application was then dismissed but fresh plans were submitted with a pedestrian bridge over the railway line.

Friars Oak Fields in Hassocks which Rydon wants to develop for housing

Friars Oak Fields in Hassocks which Rydon wants to develop for housing

According to council officers: “It is relevant that since the SoS dismissed the previous application on 1 March 2018, the local planning authority has allocated the site at Clayton Mills to the east of this application for approximately 500 dwellings and a primary school.

“The council received the inspector’s report on the district plan on 12 March 2018 and the district plan was adopted on 28 March 2018.

“As such this is a clear change in circumstances because there will now be a major northward extension to Hassocks that would mean that the site at Friars Oak will now be located in-between major housing developments at the Golf Course and Clayton Mills.

“It is considered that the proposal would provide a satisfactory vehicular access and would not result in a severe impact on the highway network, which is the policy test in both the development plan and the NPPF.”

A total of 148 letters objecting to the scheme have been received from residents.

Many have argued the site is allocated as a green space in the Hassocks neighbourhood plan, would lead to a loss of habitat for wildlife, increase flooding, put more strain on infrastructure and lead to the coalescence of the village with Burgess Hill.

Plans to redevelop Hassocks Golf Club were approved by the council in December 2016. The scheme involved 130 new homes, replacing and repositioning the clubhouse, and reducing the course from 18 to nine holes with a new driving range.

Officers said: “The proposed increase in numbers of dwellings (35) from the outline application complies with the government’s aim of making effective use of land to help meet identified needs for housing, specifically by making optimal use of the potential of suitably located sites.”

A total of 20 letters of objection have been received.