About us

This blog is all about the residents of Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint trying to Protect Ham Fields. Ham Fields is the ancient name of the green space which remains between Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint, the so called Strategic Gap, also referred to as land to the west of London Road, Hassocks.

Please feel free to e-mail us protecthamfields@gmail.com or use the Contact us form.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Petition for a Judicial Review

Please support this petition - lets tell the Parish Council what they need to do.

The Parish Council have significant resources in the form of the taxes we have paid over recent years.  This petition asks them to use some of these resources to fight the decision by MSDC to completely ignore the Neighbourhood Plan and grant a consent for development at Friars Oak Fields.

A Judicial Review can overthrow a decision like this on a point of law.  The Officer recommendation was wrong at law, they gave no weight to the Neighbourhood Plan.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

51 House Planning Application

Well there is a new planning application from Gleeson in respect of Ham Fields.

Two Planning Inspectors and a Home Secretary have said;

"no diminution of the Local Gap"

this means no building in the Local Gap!

You can have a look at the application and comments so far by following this link


click the "Make a Comment" button to leave your response or send an e-mail to 

steven.king@midsussex.gov.uk and


making sure to include the reference DM/15/4609 in the subject.

Comments need to be in before Christmas Day.

The Parish Council will be formulating their response at the Planning Meeting on 21 December 2015 at 19:30 in the Parish Rooms.  Please go along to remind Councillors that development at this site is not wanted, desired or needed.

Saturday 17 October 2015

A new idea from Gleeson

Many of you will have received the flyer below from Gleesons during the last few days.  We probably should have expected that they would be back again.  A quick recap on where we are:

Gleeson’s planning application for 97 dwellings on Ham Fields was refused by Mid Sussex District Council, then after Gleeson had lodged an Appeal MSDC withdraw their refusal and offered no evidence at the Appeal.  Several interested parties gave evidence at the Appeal and then in July notice was given that the Appeal was dismissed.  They main finding were:

With regard to the Local Gap

"21. In light of the above, notwithstanding the differences between the previous and present schemes, their effect on the Gap would be sufficiently similar, both in principle and practice, that I reach the same conclusion as the previous Inspector and the Secretary of State. The proposed development would result in a small but nevertheless significant diminution of this part of the Local Gap which would undermine its purpose. In turn, this would harm the setting of the villages of Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks, contrary to Policy C3 of the Local Plan.

With regard to air quality

"43. For the reasons above, I consider that the evidence in respect of air quality is at best equivocal. It would appear that this is due in part to questions of data reliability which might be beyond the appellant’s control. However, on the basis of all the information before me, I cannot conclude with confidence that the proposed development would not have a negative effect on air quality within the Stonepound Crossroads AQMA. Consequently, it would conflict with Policy CS22 of the Local Plan and with the provisions of paragraphs 109, 120 and 124 of the Framework.

Planning balance and conclusion

"47. I have found in the appellant’s favour in relation to the traffic impact of the proposed development. I also consider that it would have benefits in terms of the social and economic roles of sustainable development as envisaged by the Framework. In this respect, I give particular weight to the provision of market and affordable housing. 

48. However, notwithstanding the creation of the hedgerow and meadows, and that the scheme would cause no significant harm to the landscape character or visual amenity of the area, I have found that it would undermine the purpose of the Local Gap between Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks and reduce forever the land available to perform its important planning function. Furthermore, I cannot be certain that the development would not be detrimental to air quality, and therefore to human health, within the designated AQMA. Consequently, it would conflict with the environmental role of sustainable development.  

49. Having regard to paragraph 8 of the Framework, which confirms that the social, economic and environmental roles of sustainable development are mutually dependent, I consider that the adverse impacts of the proposal would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits to which I have had regard. Thus, in terms of the decision-making approach set out in paragraph 14 of the Framework, I find that the proposal would not constitute the sustainable development for which there is a presumption in favour. I therefore intend to dismiss the appeal and so the planning obligations provided in the S106 Agreement are a neutral factor in the planning balance. As they could not be determinative of the outcome, I have not considered them further in respect of the relevant tests in law and policy. 50. For the reasons above, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed."

At an extra-ordinary meeting of the Parish Council Councillors did not allocate this site for housing, they did however to resolve to allocate part of the proposed development site as Local Green Space.

Gleeson have, however, applied for a judicial review of the Appeal decision.  This is scheduled for February next year and if successful will set the application back to the Appeal stage and there will be a new Appeal.

In all likelihood this latest flyer is the forerunner for a new application.  They will undoubtedly be trying for a proof of concept and if successful will then seek to revisit the number.  If you are mindful to reply to the flyer I suggest you quote the above sections of the Appeal decision - no diminution of the Local Gap - no matter how small!

Gleeson 2015 Flyer_0001

Thursday 2 July 2015

Decision Day

The day has arrived and we prevailed, the Appeal was dismissed.  The
full decision is attached: in short reduction of the Local Gap and
development which will lead to the worsening or the potential
worsening of the AQMA can be given significant weight and make this
development unsustainable.

The Midi are running a story next week and there is a photo shoot on
Monday evening at 18:00 I suggest we meet in the field over the stile.
Please do come along with your victory banners.  The Midi would
welcome comments please send yours to nikki.cutler@jpress.co.uk

I would personally like to thank everybody who contributed to this
fight, with special thanks to Cllr Andy Petch, Ian Tovey, Philip Weir,
Bob Brewer and Graham Butcher.

You will still need to rank the site in the preference order at the 10
/ 11 July consultation event so it is still important to keep

supporting not only this effort but others which are important to you.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Sign our petition

I am incredibly disappointed and annoyed to say that MSDC will not transfer our earlier petition on to the new application.  I have therefore set up the following petition.  Please sign it and share with all your friends and family.

Sunday 1 February 2015

There is a new Planning Application!

In a surprising turn of events, Gleeson have submitted a new application.  Although this seems strange but lets not try and second guess the reasoning.

As previously a huge number of documents have been submitted, covering correspondence suggests that, and early inspection confirms, the differences relate to the provision of footways around the site, a french drain and associated balancing ponds.


Correspondence from the officer at MSDC indicates that

"Residents will need to write in again to object to the scheme or send a copy of previous comments under the new reference number "

I suggest that you all contact Kirsten King and ask her to copy your earlier objections and record them against this application.  You can contact her on 01444 477590 or e-mail her kirstenk@midsussex.gov.uk .  You could write something like;

"I wrote to you previously with objections against application number 13/03818/OUT , please can you record those same objections against application number DM/15/0266"

If you still have a copy of your earlier objection you can e-mail that to kirstenk@midsussex.gov.uk and to planninginfo@midsussex.gov.uk quoting reference number DM/15/0266 .


Regardless of any previous objection you made it would be really great if you sent an additional new objection about the Local Gap and the significant impact of the development on the Local Gap.  You should include the following;

"The Secretary of State made a determination in relation to TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 77 APPLICATION BY THAKENHAM HOMES (SOUTHERN) LIMITED LAND OFF COLLEGE LANE, HURSTPIERPOINT, WEST SUSSEX BN6 9AB APPLICATION REF: 13/01250/FUL.  In his decision letter of 4 September 2014 the Secretary of State said;

although policy C3 is out of date in so far as it impacts upon the supply of housing, it continues to serve an important planning function in preventing the coalescence of the settlements of Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks and maintaining their separate identities and amenity, with no conflict with the thrust of the Framework. The Secretary of State has also carefully considered the arguments set out by the Inspector at IR13.21-13.23 and agrees with her conclusion that the proposed development would undermine the purposes of the Local Gap and change its character. He agrees that the Gap continues to serve a useful and much valued planning purpose (irrespective of the landscape capacity assessment of the site) and that an increase in built development would result in a small but nevertheless significant diminution of openness.

The Local Gap in question is defined as being from the rear of the gardens of London Road, Hassocks to the rear of the gardens in College Lane, Hurstpierpoint.  As the Secretary of State has already determined that reducing the Local Gap from the west provides a valid reason for refusal, similarly reducing the gap from the east must have the same consequence.

Local Gaps are of national importance, in the overall conclusion of his decision the SoS said;

The long established Local Gap is already particularly narrow and vulnerable in the vicinity of the application site, so that the proposal fails to satisfy the environmental dimension of sustainable development as set out in the Framework”. 

The point you are wanting to make is that this application would have a SIGNIFICANT negative impact on the Local Gap, it would contribute towards coalescence and be contrary to the decision of the Secretary of State.  It would also be contrary to NPPF 17(5).

In the coming weeks there may be some other issues that need highlighting, I am thinking particularly about traffic particularly as WSCC Highways believe there is no traffic problem here and that further development will not make things worse. 

Decision for refusal removed

On 22 January 2015 the District Planning Committee again considered the reasons for refusal.  Officers were recommending that the reasons be removed because the Local Highways Authority were no longer objecting to the impact of the development on Stonepound and therefore the impact on air quality.

I must admit that it was a rather depressing affair.  None of the Councillors seemed to want to accept the fait accompli which was being delivered.  Cllr Coote went so far as to say of the Highways Authority "that they were not fit for purpose" [on several occasions] and Cllr Trumble complained of "lies, damn lies and statistics".

However at the end of the day it all seemed to boil down to costs;
  1. Highways were no longer objecting, 
  2. The reasons for refusal required the support of their objection, 
  3. Without the support the reasons for refusal would be unreasonable and leave Mid Sussex District Council open to costs.
So the reasons for refusal were dropped.  The Appeal goes ahead on 31 March but MSDC will offer no evidence.  It is up to us to argue against the Appeal.  Members of the public are given the opportunity to address the Appeal so we will need to get ourselves organised for that.  In order to make the best use of the opportunity I strongly suggest we only have a few people speak, each one on a key area.  If you are interested in doing this please can you let me know.