Call to fight plans for more village homes

COUNTRYSIDE campaigners are urging readers to fight Bellway Homes’ plans for 49 homes on a Billingshurst site where a planning inspector dismissed an appeal a few months ago.

The developer has submitted an application including three one bed, 18 two bed, three three bed and nine four plus bed homes with associated car parking, landscaping and access.

The Save Billingshurst Action Group said a similar application for 55 homes on the same land was turned down on appeal no more than four months ago.

“This is the fourth time applications have been made for building on the land,” a spokesman said.

“The previous three times the application has been turned down for the effect the scheme would have on the character and appearance of the countryside (it is built outside the existing planning boundary), and that it affords insufficient protection to the Ancient Woodland of Rosier Way.

“The similarity that this application has to the previous application shows contempt for the previous decision to refuse the scheme made by the planning inspector.

“The Save Billingshurst Action Group notices a number of additional points that they encourage people to raise in objecting to this application:

“Since the last rejection permission has been given for 150 new homes near the Groomsland Drive and Marringdean Road.

“The influx of cars from this development on to the roads below the railway line in Billingshurst will cause traffic build up in an already congested area.

“Adding an additional number of cars from the proposed 49 houses will bring additional traffic to roads that service the Weald and Billingshurst Junior School.

“Under the Facilitating Appropriate Development Horsham District Council document 150 houses were identified as the tipping point for the number of houses that Billingshurst can realistically sustain.

“Permission has just been given for 150 houses off Marringdean Road, 67 houses are being built at Hilland’s Farm and over 30 more are in construction or have been given permission at Station Mills, and on land opposite the Hilland’s Farm development: numbers well beyond those envisaged by the FAD document.”

The group claimed prematurity stating there was a application for 550 houses to the north and east of Billingshurst and the council had launched a review of its overall planning strategy with the outcome due in the new year.

“The 21 days given for objections to the scheme bring us into early December. We are concerned that the haste to launch another application is an attempt to jump ahead of the proper planning review process.

“For those that respect and love the countryside and who see rationalising existing brown field sites to release land for necessary new housing, we urge you to object to this latest application in Billingshurst, join other villages fighting similar greenfield developments across Sussex and support the Save Our Sussex Campaign.”

Objections can be made on Horsham District Council’s website planning portal. The application code is DC/11/2385.