The proposal by Fairfax Acquisitions to build 35 houses on this well known local beauty spot came barely a year after their first proposal was refused and only months after a Planning Inspector rejected their appeal.
Thanking local residents for their overwhelming support in fighting the application, Mr. Phil Johnson, chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural Henfield, commented:
"We were concerned that after the long battle against the Sandy Lane planning appeal last year, people might feel weary and not bother to object. The opposite was the case - we had nearly 200 objections submitted and people were more determined than ever to protect this lovely spot."
Plans to install a bench opposite the field are now expected to be completed within weeks. The bench will be positioned to allow locals to sit and enjoy the wonderful sunset views across the field to the South Downs. Nearby resident John Woodman said:
"I am delighted that this will be left as a farmer's field so that all the community can enjoy the spectacular views across it. During shutdown we have enjoyed it all the more! It has reinforced my belief at what a blight to the countryside this development would have been"
Local resident and campaigner Julie Mitchell also reacted enthusiastically to the decision:
"It would be good if these developers now take note that this proposal is not wanted by the people of Henfield, the Parish Council, HDC or the Planning Inspector and don’t continue to push for development of this area. We have neighbourhood plans for a reason!"
As reasons for refusal, Horsham cited that the proposal does not conform to either the Horsham District Planning Framework or to Henfield's emerging Neighbourhood Plan which is now nearly ready for referendum and carries significant legal weight. Mr. Johnson explained:
"This decision highlights why it has been so important to progress Henfield's Neighbourhood Plan and the team working on that document has done a great job.
It is also critical that we influence the new Horsham District Local Plan which is due to be introduced in November. We are aware that developers are pushing forwards numerous sites for inclusion in that plan including 55 houses on the Sandgate Nursery site on West End Lane, a giant new development of up to 800 houses north of Furners Lane, and Sandy Lane yet again."
The CPRH team which led the community campaign now fully expects another appeal from Fairfax and another long battle ahead.
The official Sandy Lane decision can be read here.