East Grinstead affordable homes plans approved despite objections

Plans to build ten affordable homes next to a cemetery in East Grinstead have been approved despite almost 150 objections to Mid Sussex District Council.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 10:10 am

During a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday (January 21), chairman Gary Marsh described the application for land at the junction of Blackwell Farm Road and Holtye Road, as ‘difficult and emotive’.

It certainly seemed that way for the dozens who wrote to the council, expressing their concerns, with drainage, traffic and loss of open space topping the list.

Another sticking point was the site’s location, right next to the Mount Noddy cemetery.

One person thought no one would want to live in a house ‘overlooking the dead’, while another said the development would be ‘an affront to the many local people who have been laid to rest’ there.

Others felt the land should be used to extend the cemetery or build a garden of remembrance.

Liz Bennett (Con, East Grinstead Meridian) said the site was held ‘in high regard’ by residents who felt they were ‘having an important and valued green space taken from them at a time when they really need it the most’.

Margaret Belsey (Con, East Grinstead – Ashplats) told the meeting that East Grinstead Town Council had wanted to buy the land and possibly extend the cemetery but it was sold to The Guinness Partnership in 2019.

But that was in the past and the committee had to deal with what was put before them.

The application was not the first submitted for the site. In 2016, outline permission was granted for a similar plan, though that has since expired.

But the principle of developing the land had been set.

Despite concerns about road safety – especially of children walking to nearby Blackwell Primary School – West Sussex highways lodged no objection to the plans, making it difficult for the council to refuse them without risking hefty costs if the applicant appealed.

The plans were agreed by six votes to four.