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folders lane sign header Folders Lane Planning Applications Add To Burgess Hill's Housing And Infrastructure Woes

24th March 2015
By Peter Chapman

If you've driven or walked along Folders Lane in recent days, then you may have spotted that some signs have been erected by the South Of Folders Lane Action Group.

If you're confused as to what's happening. Let your reliable BHU reporter explain....

Developers Buying Up Vast Amounts Of Land
Behind the big houses on the southern side of Folders Lane are lots of lush green fields. Developers have been buying up these fields along with some of the properties on Folders Lane and Keymer Road.

These developers want to build new housing estates on our countryside and many people think that this very wrong.

Thakeham homes have already destroyed three fields worth of ancient hedgerow and have been ordered to replant it by the council.....

Recently, an application was submitted by Jones Homes for 74 new homes behind number 88 Folders Lane.

There are 15 other fields between Folders Lane and Wellhouse Lane. Most are now in the hands of developers.A report indicates that there could be room for as many as 1,500 new homes on this land.

Now, we can all make arguments for why these fields should or shouldn't be used for housing. Destruction of the countryside, wiping out wildlife, closing the strategic gap between Burgess Hill and Hassocks are just some of the reasons.

In turn, people want to see more houses built so that their children will have somewhere to live. More houses could drive the prices down to make them more affordable and of course there's the good old 'nimby' jibes, with people pointing out that those protesting live in houses that were once fields too.

However, let's look at the real reasons why this is all so wrong...

450 homes are about to be built on lane east of Kings Way. The county council have not seen the need to do any major road alterations. In addition we're not getting any new schools, doctors surgerys, dentists etc.

We've also got around another 500 homes coming to the Keymer Tiles site, again, with no additional infrastructure.

Add in the potential for another 1500 homes to the south of Folders Lane, just how will this part of town cope without massive investment?

We've not even addressed the 4,000 homes coming to the north of town yet!

Burgess Hill is fast becoming the dumping ground for Mid Sussex. Even worse that it's currently being done with no benefit to the town.

Think back over the past 10 years with all the housing thats come up mostly to the West, what infrastructure benefits have we seen to meet the growing population?

A quick history lesson
Some years ago (About 5) there was the South East Plan. It called for Mid Sussex to take 17,000 new houses over 20 years.

The plans were then superseded by district plans where each council could table a reasonable housing number. Mid Sussex District Council wanted to build just 10,500 homes. With 4,500 coming to Burgess Hill alone!

Part of the district plan was to speak to all the neighbouring councils from Lewes, Brighton, Crawley, Horsham, Worthing in order to see if they had any unmet housing needs.

Mid Sussex District Council did a rubbish job at this. Along with the painfully low housing number submitted, it was no surprise at all that the inspector threw the plans out.

As a result, for the past 18 months, Burgess Hill and all the other towns and villages have been left vulnerable to opportunist developers.

I myself have been to countless planning meetings in this period where MSDC have had to accept new developments purely because they don't have a 5-year land supply document. There are special rules for Haywards Heath however where developments are rejected, then lost at appeal, losing us £1000's in legal fees and staff time.

As well as taking extra housing that weren't part of the original 10,500 for the district, Burgess Hill is losing out on MILLIONS of pounds in developer contributions, because without a district plan, there is no Community Infrastructure Levy.

The homes at Kings Way were supposed to be part of the district plan, they are now being built without a financial benefit to the town, the same with the Keymer Tiles site, and soon enough, the hundreds of new homes south of Folders Lane will be built, again without any benefit to the town.

We're still a good few years away at least from finally getting a district plan in place, how many more hundreds, if not thousands of homes will be built in this time?

The cast iron lie

Cllr Andrew Barrett-Miles gave a 'Cast Iron Guarantee' that we'd receive 80 million pounds from the planned developments. £40 million for infrastructure and £40 million for the 'goodies' with the money to be controlled by the town council. His guarantee is in TATTERS. His underwear must be scorching on a daily basis.

What we should be protesting against

If you want to protest, then it shouldn't be against any one particular development. It should be a protest over how Burgess Hill is without a doubt the housing dumping ground of Mid Sussex,

We should protest against both the district and town councils for making a shambles of all their plans.

We should protest that our town is going to suffer as the money is not being put in to ensure that we can cope with the strain that thousands of new homes brings.

It's good to share, let people know about the great Burgess Hill housing scandal

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
How do you feel about the loss of more green fields to off-plan developments in Burgess Hill? Are we getting close to breaking point with a complete lack of infrastructure investment?

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