Henfield homes get reluctant approval

JPCT 170513 Alison Vine and Tony Jackson 'Hands off Henfield' group counting traffic to stop more housing developments. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 170513 Alison Vine and Tony Jackson 'Hands off Henfield' group counting traffic to stop more housing developments. Photo by Derek Martin

After a long-running saga, plans for 102 homes in Henfield have been approved because district councillors said it would otherwise land them in ‘hot water’.

Welbeck Land’s application to build the homes on land east of Manor Close was reluctantly approved by Horsham planners at the development committee meeting on Tuesday, despite major opposition from residents.

This was Welbeck Land’s third submitted application. In July 2012, the committee rejected the second application, but an appeal was upheld by the planning inspector in September 2012 and costs were awarded against the council for £75, 300, according to the developer.

Chairman Philip Circus (Con: Chanctonbury) asked the planning officer if another order for costs would be made against the council if they refused. The officer said yes, it was a possibility.

Sheila Matthew (Ind: Henfield) added: “I think to take any other decision than the officer’s recommendation would end us up in hot water.”

The planning officer said the outline application was almost identical to the last one submitted in 2012, with the exception of a three-year extension to draw up the reserve matters application.

Ray Dawe (Con: Chantry) said: “Why is it not reasonable to have a period of 18 months when the planning inspector thought it was sufficient last year?”

The planing officer said three years was a reasonable request.

A member of residents’ action group ‘Hands Off Henfield’, Carol Eastwood, appealed to the committee stating that the developments was ‘not in the community’s best interest’.

After unanimous approval was granted, Mrs Eastwood said: “We are disappointed, but it went as we expected.”

The approval is subject to financial contributions to community facilities, like transport infrastructure.