We’ve won the battle -now for the war

Jubilant members of Henfield's Own Preservation Society celebrate the victory Photo Mike Beardall

Jubilant members of Henfield's Own Preservation Society celebrate the victory Photo Mike Beardall

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Henfield campaigners say they couldn’t have won the battle against development without the help of the County Times.

Founder of HOPS (Henfield’s Own Preservation Society), Steve Morris said: “If it hadn’t been for the County Times we could not have kept the ball rolling.

“As a result more district councillors knew of the plight of Henfield and were able to get the real facts about the impact of more than 100 homes planned for farmland at the rear of Manor Close, in the village.

“We have won the first battle and now we have to win the war when the developer’s appeal is heard in September.”

Mr Morris added: “We desperately hope that common sense prevails and we maintain the size of the village so that our services can cope. Villagers who have moved here came because this is a rural village - not a town. We must preserve this very valuable bit of countryside that would be destroyed if these homes were built.”

Because Horsham District Council had failed to determine the application for the homes in the prescribed period, developers lodged an appeal.

They then submitted a second identical application on the basis that if the district council approved it, it would withdraw the appeal, saving the council a costly process. Two meetings were spent discussing the question of an appeal, and it was not until a third meeting last week, that an application itself was discussed.

Councillors recognised the plight faced by Henfield, which has already suffered enormous development, with the impact of an ongoing stage yet to be assessed.

The meeting was told the village does not have the infrastructure to cope with more housing. Southern Water also reported the sewerage system would not be able to cope bringing a real risk of flooding.

Councillors rejected officer recommendations to approve the scheme by a massive majority, with only two voting to approve it.

Letters: pages 44-47

Storrington development worries: page 53