Fairfax Acquisitions have now lodged an appeal against the refusal of planning permission by Horsham District Council in February. The company wants to build 42 new homes on the 'Land North of Sandy Lane', a proposal which received around 350 letters of objection from local people when the planning application was first made in November 2018.
The appeal will be decided at a Planning Inquiry to be held over 4 days starting on 6th August 2019. Fairfax state that "Detailed expert evidence and legal submission will be required on landscape matters, heritage matters, and the interaction of the development, five-year housing land supply in the District, and paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework." They plan to call four expert witnesses to give evidence for 1-2 hours each.
The community has very little time to decide how to respond to the appeal. Any additional written evidence has to be submitted by 6th June and we have to register if we wish to participate actively in the Inquiry. CPRH is urgently considering the options including raising funds to retain our own experts and take legal counsel.
The news about Sandy Lane comes on top of the Mayfield Market Town proposal which has recently been revived. If approved, the new town would be some three times larger than Henfield and would approach to within a couple of fields to the east of Henfield's built-up area. The campaign group LAMBS is actively fighting that proposal.
Both development proposals attempt to take advantage of the fact that Horsham's building target is to be increased from the present 800 houses per year to over 1000 per year under new government rules introduced in 2018. The rule changes also threaten to overtake Henfield's ongoing Neighbourhood Planning process and create a new loophole for speculative developments.
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