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Crunch time in fight against Henfield homes

Villagers will present a petition with about 1,000 signatures to a public inquiry next week.

Land agents Welbeck Strategic Land Ltd want 102 houses to be built east of Manor Close, Henfield. Horsham District Council rejected the scheme but will not be represented during the inquiry, at the Millennium Hall, Roffey, on Tuesday. Dozens of Henfield protesters, including parish councillors and members of Henfield Community Partnership, are expected to attend.

Carol Eastwood, chairman of Henfield’s Own Preservation Society (HOPS), said: “We feel we are being totally bullied by Welbeck, who have dismissed the people of Henfield as being of no consequence. We have been treated shabbily by Horsham District Council – and many councillors have already recognised that, by voting against the plans at a planning meeting in July. Our fight goes on to prevent being walked over and ignored.

“The roads cannot cope, drainage is inadequate and services will be stretched beyond breaking point. This is one of our most attractive parts of the village and very rural. We cannot afford to lose more countryside.”

A spokesman for Horsham District Council told The Resident: “A planning application for the development of the site for up to 102 dwellings, together with associated landscaping, open space and access, was submitted in October 2011. An appeal was lodged by Welbeck Strategic Land on March 13, on the grounds of the council’s non-determination of the application. The application was therefore referred to the council’s development control committee on April 17.

“The application was deferred at the meeting in order to seek clarification from West Sussex County Council. Upon receipt of the additional information, the application was reported to the May 15 meeting of the development control committee. Members resolved not to contest the appeal as it was not considered there was any justification for the refusal of the planning application on planning grounds.

“On the basis of this decision, a second identical planning application was submitted by Welbeck and reported to the July 17 committee meeting. Members resolved to refuse the application on the grounds of the proposal’s adverse impact on the local infrastructure.

“The public inquiry will only deal with the original application. As a result, the council will not be able to oppose the appeal.”

The photo by Mike Beardall, of Oakfield Media, shows campaigners celebrating their council victory last month.

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