Above: Fields around Henfield being considered for development
Having spent years preparing our Neighbourhood Plan, with proposals for 270 more houses, and commented on the proposed Horsham Local Plan, with its allocation of Sandgate Nursery and Furners Lane for a further 100 houses, the people of Henfield may be surprised to learn that developers are already proposing more building.
Seaward Properties would like to build 50 housing units on Fullers Field, adjacent to the Downslink. At the same time they propose to redevelop the adjacent Hollands Lane industrial estate. The land is owned by Horsham District Council who would therefore benefit from the arrangement.
Seaward argue that the allocation of Sangate Nursery by Horsham in the draft Local Plan, even though that site has been rejected by the Secretary of State in 2016, justifies building on this nearby field as a "rounding out" of the village. Of course, this 'domino' logic can quickly be expanded to the adjacent Knight's field and beyond that to Sandy Lane field.
Their full argument can be seen here.
Taylor Wimpey want to build a massive 500 house estate, with an option to extend to 800 houses, to the north of Furners Lane (i.e. behind the recent Croudace development).
They argue that Henfield needs to provide housing to assist Brighton and Worthing, which are both constrained by the South Downs. BHCC (the City Council) support this position saying "it is not clear why 1,400 homes per year has been considered an upper ceiling for growth, given that unmet housing needs from surrounding areas are known to be much higher."
Taylor Wimpey's promotional brochure explains why Henfield is ideally placed to form an important part of a spatial planning strategy solution for this part of West Sussex and Brighton.
Horsham is already one of the highest delivering authorities in the country delivering a target of 800 homes per year including 150 to meet the unmet needs of surrounding areas, particularly Crawley. But from November, when the current plan expires, Horsham will have to meet a much higher target. The Government has already rejected a request from Horsham to allow more time for consultation.
The developments take place against the national background of the Prime Minister declaring we will "build, build, build" our way out of the economic crisis caused by coronavirus. The Government plans to remove planning regulations to make it easier for developers to build on land where in the past planning permission has been difficult to obtain.
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