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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.

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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

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