Residents battle to halt new plans for Copthorne gypsy site

Copthorne Village Sign
Copthorne Village Sign

New battle plans are being drawn up to halt the building of a gypsy and traveller site on the border of Mid Sussex and Crawley.

Mid Sussex District Council is proposing to change the use of the land at Lower Hollow Copse, Copthorne, to accommodate 13 permanent mobile home pitches on two separate areas. But local residents are putting forward strong objections and hundreds have signed an on-line protest petition.

They say that the site - known locally as Pot Common - is in a rural location and any development would be incompatible with the surrounding area.

The proposals for the site are being put forward by the council for the second time after a previous application for a gypsy and traveller site was withdrawn.

Mark Kosky, chairman of the Pot Common Protection Association, said the new proposals still amounted to a “poorly designed scheme that is completely out of keeping with the area.

“This is a rural spot surrounded by trees and fields and this site would dominate the local area and add significant burden to the local infrastructure, including roads, schools and doctors’ surgeries.”

He added that they were not objecting to “a properly planned and well delivered gypsy and traveller site, however this is not the case for this area of land and such a development would be wholly unsuitable to both the local residents and the gypsy and traveller community.”

In their petition, residents state that the traveller site would “destroy the appearance of the area and endanger the safety of prospective residents and the local community. We ask that these proposals be withdrawn and that Pot Common be returned to its natural rural state for the benefit of the local community.”

Other residents have voiced concerns of the threat to wildlife from the development and say that the land is also a big draw for families and dog walkers.

The council’s proposals are for two sites: one housing 10 traveller pitches and another housing three pitches with a manager’s office, amenity blocks, roads and parking for 34 cars.