‘Delighted’ and ‘relieved’ residents saw plans for 40 Mannings Heath homes rejected.
Since proposals for the land north of Winterpit Lane were unveiled in 2013 they have generated huge opposition in the village and almost 300 letters objecting to the planning application were sent to Horsham District Council.
On Tuesday the council’s Development Control North Committee threw out plans on the grounds that the site was in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), was outside the built up boundary of the village, and the site was not included in the recently agreed Nuthurst Neighbourhood Plan.
After the meeting Keith Davison, who spoke against the application, said that residents would be ‘relieved’ and added: “We’re very satisfied that common sense has prevailed and the integrity of the neighbourhood plan is established.”
Another resident added: “It’s brought the village together as a community and I think people will be delighted. All the hard work that has been put in has been recognised.”
During the meeting Peter Rainier, from DMH Stallard and speaking on behalf of Mannings Heath Action Group (MHAG), argued that proposals were ‘unwarranted, unjustified, and unnecessary’.
Val Court, chair of Nuthurst Parish Council, added: “This site has been hanging over us for some time and it has strong feelings against and those feelings have not changed within our parish.”
She explained that people in the parish wanted a number of smaller sites in their neighbourhood plan and ‘that’s what we believe we delivered’.
But the agent for the scheme argued that proposals would still bring a significant number of benefits to the local area.
Toni Bradnum (Con, Nuthurst) said the application was ‘wrong on so many levels’, would do ‘nothing to enhance Mannings Heath’, and was a ‘pre-emptive strike’ by the developer to get in before the neighbourhood plan was agreed.
She also raised concerns about the access through The Quarries on to Winterpit Lane, and felt it was ‘reprehensible’ that West Sussex highways seemed happy with the site’s access arrangements.
Stuart Ritchie (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) added: “The council has worked long and hard towards our planning framework and it’s encouraged local communities to develop their neighbourhood plans. If the applicant can’t actually get the neighbourhood on side I do not think it deserves our support tonight.”
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