Horror at loss of hedgerows and trees as development work starts

Trees are felled and hedgerows lifted as land in the Broadbridge Heath area is prepared for development.
Trees are felled and hedgerows lifted as land in the Broadbridge Heath area is prepared for development.

A SCARRED landscape in the Broadbridge Heath area is shocking residents, who have contacted the County Times and Horsham District Council to register their upset.

Trees are being felled, and hedgerows lifted as preparatory works for the west of Horsham 963 home development get underway, after gaining outline planning permission last October.

Anne Jackson and Fiona Page, both living in Broadbridge Heath, wrote a joint letter saying they are ‘horrified at the number of mature trees either completely cut down or ‘pollarded’ as the Broadbridge Heath development gains pace’.

They said: “We feel that the number of trees and hedgerows removed is excessive and unnecessary compared to the access needed by the builders etc.”

The pair are especially galled at losing the beauty afforded by the trees in the area.

They said: “It is particularly upsetting as losing the fields is bad enough but losing the natural visual amenities which would soften the impact of the housing to come is unfair.

“Why has the council not put a preservation order on trees such as these part of the planning permission?”

HDC has confirmed no Tree Preservation Orders exist on the development site.

Mrs Jackson and Mrs Page continued: “It seems that the development is going to be very barren judging by the number of trees we have seen felled in and around Wickhurst Lane, Five Oaks Road and on the A24.”

The planning authority has stated the work being carried out at present is ‘in connection with the programme of ecological mitigation; a scheme of archaeological surveys and the construction access and tree removal, which is in accordance with the details submitted at outline stage’.

Subject to planning permission on reserved matters, construction would commence later this year with ‘first occupations anticipated at the end of the year’.

However, writing to the council, the concerned Broadbridge Heath residents say they have not been kept informed.

“As residents we have not had any information since the meeting held in St John’s Church hall.

“It seems that once again HDC goes ahead with decisions that affect us the residents and do not care what the impact or feel it necessary to keep us up to date - it appears to boil down to money yet again as it is certainly easier to build without having to plan around trees than with them.

“Broadbridge Heath has lost out again!“

In a statement the council said: “Preparatory works are now underway by Countryside Properties PLC in connection with the development of land to the south of Broadbridge Heath, where outline planning permission was granted by Horsham District Council in October 2011 for 963 residential units, community facilities, including land for a new primary school, neighbourhood centre, youth and recreational facilities, formal and informal open space along with associated highway infrastructure including the new east west link road, improvements to the existing Five Oaks roundabout, realignment and partial closure of the existing A264 (application reference DC/09/2101).

“The outline planning application set the parameters for the development, which is due to be built over the next seven years.

“The implementation of the outline application is dependent upon the discharge of a number of planning conditions and the submission of planning applications for ‘reserved matters’, which provide the detailed layout and design for the development.

“The first two reserved matters applications relating to the first phase infrastructure application (application reference DC/11/2059) and the first phase residential application for 105 residential units (application reference DC/11/2074) are currently subject to consideration and details are available for inspection through Horsham District Council’s website (www.horsham.gov.uk).”