Residents express concerns over proposed Broadbridge Heath development

JPCT 140813 S133330577x Broadbrodge Heath. Field behind Shelley Arms -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 140813 S133330577x Broadbrodge Heath. Field behind Shelley Arms -photo by Steve Cobb

Around a dozen residents argued against proposed new homes in Broadbridge Heath at a parish council meeting last night (Tuesday January 21).

Increases in traffic, loss of green space and general overdevelopment in the village were among the concerns raised, both by the public and by councillors.

Plans submitted by Gleeson Developments involve building 165 residential dwellings, including a 60-bed care home, on land north of Old Guildford Road.

After listening to residents discuss the issue, Jonathan England said: “In the interest of reducing any fear, uncertainty or doubt, are we going to object?”

When fellow councillors indicated they would, Mr England continued: “It is a question of how we make the best objection.”

District and parish councillor Malcolm Curnock drew attention to criteria that Gleeson Developments would have to fulfil by building on the land.

The criteria, Mr Curnock said, included providing provision for a sports area in the parish - and the lack of green space would make that difficult.

He said: “They have an obligation to provide certain amenities dependant on the number of dwellings they are putting in.

“One is recreational pitch space, and there is nothing in the development that provides that.

“It may be that it is only half a football pitch but if they say ‘we will make a contribution to making a pitch area’, there is no land for that to be provided.”

Mr Curnock also questioned the necessity of the 60-bed care home.

He said: “Broadbridge Heath has a very high percentage of young people.

“Forty per cent are children - that is considerably higher than a lot of other villages in the district.

“It is the last green space in the parish that is accessible to the community.”

He added the development in Horsham for a new John Lewis store, which was approved by Horsham District Council on the same day, could further increase traffic problems in the village, and that had not been considered.

Earlier in the meeting, worried residents stressed concerns that Broadbridge Heath ‘would not be a village any more’ should further development take place.

One local said: “Despite what Gleeson’s have outlined saying ‘there was an overwhelming positive response’, I haven’t met a single person who approves of it. Everyone was absolutely appalled towards it.”

Another added: “It appears people like us who will be affected will not be considered relevant.”

Unanimously, the parish council advised they would strongly object to the plans at a meeting on Monday February 3, before the development is considered by Horsham District Council.