February sees the start of the 6-week consultation on Horsham's Local District Plan. The proposal will include options for building new towns, including Mayfield (east of Henfield) and one at West Grinstead/Buck's Barn as well as some additional smaller sites over and above what are proposed for our new Neighbourhood Plan. Henfield Parish Council is opposed to the Mayfield proposal as it directly threatens the future of Henfield as an independent village (it is just half a mile away from our housing) and will be looking to residents to make their views known during the consultation. We understand that the number of of objections or supporting online responses or letters received will carry weight when the final decisions on which sites are to be selected are made. In addition, more fields around the village are likely to be targeted for smaller housing developments. That will have an impact on Henfield’s Neighbourhood Plan, which is due to be finalised later in the year.
February-March time is also expected to see changes in the village centre, with the installation of digital information screens near the car parks following the opening of Hawthorn's new veterinary service in the refurbished premises that were formerly Barclay's Bank. The Parish Council has entered into a lease for the square and anyone planning to use it for an event needs to seek permission from the Parish Office. The terms of the lease are very specific. The Council are also looking for ideas and suggestions to brighten up this area so if you have any please let them know.
The first two Henfield Heritage Trails are due to be launched in March-April, subject to Horsham District Council releasing the trail leaflets, one around the Village & Common and one running down to the River Adur via the Downs Link and Stretham, Manor. Trail marker posts will carry links to online information about the heritage sites along the route. Later this year (probably in June or July) a mass walk is planned for the opening of the Three Parishes Trail, which will link together Henfield, Woodmancote and Shermanbury for walkers, passing by Sussex Prairies. There will also be a new 'kissing gate' and bridge installed at the Bull, north of Henfield to improve safety for walkers.
Fundraising for a number of projects is expected to get underway in May-June. Proposed work this summer includes the replacement of the Leisure Centre floor, essential repairs on the roof of the Henfield Hall and ongoing works to maintain and improve our footpaths and community buildings. The cemetery extension is also planned to be opened this year.
Plans are progressing for replacing the football pavilion on the Kings Field and there is a proposed extension to the cricket club pavilion, which will provide a new community facility, both will be subject to fund raising efforts. The ambitious plans for the Henfield Commons will be updated in September-October.
In June we will celebrate the 1,250th anniversary of St Peters Church, and in the final quarter of the year will also see an exhibition celebrating 125 years of the Henfield Parish Council to be hosted by the museum. All in all it is another busy year in Henfield!
Come along to the Annual Parish Meeting on the evening of 3rd March when you will have the opportunity to learn more about what is happening in the village. There will be displays showing various activities and improvements carried out during the last 12 months. Doors open 7pm to give people a chance to look at the displays then the event will start at 7.30pm. There will be three short presentations on the following subjects:
- Local Policing Issues and Community Speedwatch
- The Horsham District Local Plan
- Sustainable Henfield 2030
plus an opportunity to ask questions of your Councillors.