September 2017
The Reserved Matters was approved by the planning department on 13th September. Building work has already started on the entrance from Gatesmead. The hedge has been removed and the road is under construction with lots of noise from the heavy lorries.

July 2017
The Reserved Matters extra documents and replacements to many of the original documents have now been received. Click here to view and then click Related Documents followed by View Associated Documents.

The current date for the Planning Officer to make a decision is 28 September so it expected that no building work will take place before that date.

June 2017
Additional documents can be found on the following link - click here. The most interesting document is the Management Plan.

The Planning Officer is waiting for an addition document from Crest (Ecology Report), following receipt of this the Reserved Matters Application will be re-issued. If you have previously received a letter informing you of this application you should then receive a revised letter.

March 2017
Details of the Reserved Matters for the approval of the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale is now available on the MSDC website. Click here for the link

August 9th 2016
It is with much regret that I have to inform you that the Inspector and the Secretary of State has allowed the Birchen Fields Appeal. The decision means that permission has been granted for the development of the site for building of 40 houses. Development is expected to start in 2017.

It is very worrying that the wishes of a large number of local people and our councillors have been ignored in favour of the developers, who are able to pick and choose the areas of the countryside that they wish to build on. It appears we have no say in the matter regardless of the government suggesting we have local power to plan our own areas of development.

This is now the end of the road for our campaign and we would like to thank everyone who supported us with their time and money. It is not the news we wanted but we feel we have done as much as we were able.

Click here to view the letter from the Inspector.

Friday 19th February
The public inquiry lasted 3 days and is now finished. All of our expert witnesses, Richard Walker on Planning, Chris Butler our Archaeology Consultant, Miles Mayal Flooding and Drainage and Fiona Tyson Ecology were all excellent and held up to some very hard cross-examination by the Crest QC. We think we made an excellent case and together with the MSDC defence we make a very strong argument as why Crest should not develop Birchen Fields.

The next step is for the Inspector to write his report and then for the Secretary of State to make a judgement, which could take 6-9 months.

We would like to thank everyone who made it to the viewing gallery to support us, and also thank you to everyone who supported us by writing letters of objection and contributing to our fighting fund.

Monday 8th February
The public inquiry is due to start next week on Tuesday 16th February. It will be held at the Council Chambers, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath starting at 10am and is scheduled to last 3 - 4 days. As this is a public inquiry any member of the public can attend, an appointment is not necessary.

Tuesday 15th December Crest has withdrawn the appeal for 48 houses (3012022) and will now only appeal on the latest application for 40 houses (3137838). Click here to view letter from Crest. The appeal is still due to be held starting 16th February.

Friday 6th November

Crest have submitted a new appeal regarding the MSDC refusal on application DM/15/3415. The new appeal number is 3137838 and Crest have asked that this is co-joined with the existing appeal Inquiry number 3012022 that is to be held on 16th February 2016. MSDC has no objection to both inquiries being held at the same time. Click here for letter from Kirsten King to the Planning Inspectorate.

Thursday 29th October
The Crest Nicholson application to build on Birchen Fields was rejected yet again by the District Planning Committee at this afternoon’s meeting.
The vote to reject was unanimous.

This is fantastic news and we would like to thank all those who made it to the meeting to show their support, and everyone who sent letters and emails with their objections. It is likely that Crest will appeal this decision and that this and the earlier appeal are both heard in February 2016, but in the meantime let's enjoy the good news!

We would like to extend our utmost and sincere thanks and appreciation to all the people who supported this campaign over the past two years. Without all the extremely kind and generous donations of your time and money we would never have been able to get as far as we have.

Refer to the minutes of the planning meeting here

Let us hope this is finally rejected at Appeal.

Tuesday 20th October
The Planning Officer, Kirsten King, has now completed her report and we are very disapointed that she has recommended the plans for approval.
here for copy of the report.

The District Planning Committee (DPC) will be meeting next week and it is perfectly possible for them to still reject the plans. The application has already been rejected by Lindfield Parish Council and the Haywards Heath Town Council. 

The Mid Sussex District Planning Committee will be meeting to consider the application on 29th October at 2pm at The Council Chamber, Mid Sussex District Council, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath.
Everyone is welcome to attend and we hope to see you there.

Please send your Objections and Comments again
Wednesday 2nd September
None of the emails or letter that we sent previously will be transferred to this new application (DM/15/3415) and we need to send them again. The process is basically as before and you can resend your original letter (with some amendments if required to allow for changes in the latest application). Please ensure you change the application number to DM/15/3415.

The new application is basically the same as earlier applications except the allocation of houses has changed as follows:
Top field (North) was 8 now 8
Middle field was 26 now 32
Bottom field (South) was 14 now zero, plus access road.

Crest have removed the houses from the southern field to try to overcome the refusal by the Planning Officer regarding the effect of the development on Grade II* Sunte House. John Escott from Crest suggests that this is sufficient to withdraw the previous objections. Although the houses will not now be visible from Sunte House in the summer months they will probably be visible in the winter when the leaves have fallen. In addition, the street and the house lighting will still be seen, especially in the winter months, and we can still object on this basis. 

We should not forget that the Birchen Fields area is part of the Green Corridor in the Lindfield and Haywards Heath Neighbourhood plans and also in the Mid Sussex District plan, and are therefore designated for non development. The builders are trying to override the wishes of the residents and the councils and must be stopped. If they get permission to build then all of the Green Corridor surrounding Haywards Heath could also be in danger of development, so this is not just a localised issue. 

The Appeal regarding application 14/04475/OUT that has been scheduled for February 2016 still stands, although if this latest application is approved then the Appeal will probably be withdrawn.

We need as many objections to be sent as possible so please take the time to send yours.
Thank you.

New Application Submitted

Wednesday 26th August
A new application has been submitted by Crest Nicholson (submitted on 21st August). This is a replacement to the previous two applications and is for building of 40 houses (previously 48) in the middle and northern fields. The southern fields adjacent to Sunte House will be left as grassland plus an emergency access road. This change has been made to try to get around the objections raised by the MSDC Planning Officer. Refer to the applicants covering letter for further details of the reason for the change by clicking here. The expiry date for objections is 25th September.

The application number is DM/15/3415. Click here to view.

Total objections to each of the first two applications exceeded 470

Our Landscape is under threat and we need your support

Stop the developers ruining our Towns, Villages and Countryside

A large area of countryside in the north of Haywards Heath and Lindfield is threatened with unplanned and unsustainable developments. The current focus is on Birchen Fields and we must ensure this is rejected to help save us from continuous building in our countryside.

If we do nothing, the council will approve these developments. We must all write with our objections to stop this happening. If you, or a family member, have written regarding the original application you must write again, as the original letters will not be considered.

Please take the time to read this page and other sections of this site. Click here to see The Future page

Let us keep you updated with the latest news by providing your email address. Click here
Should you be concerned with this threat
If you live in Haywards Heath, Lindfield, Cuckfield, Ardingly, Balcombe or any of the other surrounding villages or if you just love the Sussex countryside and the wildlife - then yes. If you use the medical facilities, hospital, railway, schools, roads, car parks or leisure centre you will already be aware that these services are already at breaking point. Any more houses forced on us by developers will make all these facilities worse, and will destroy the landscape and the outstanding natural beauty of the countryside surrounding our towns and villages. The developers are branching out into the open countryside, with virtually every green space under threat.

Where are the Birchen Fields
The land is located to the north west of Birchen Lane, West of Gatesmead and Brook Lane and South of Haywards Heath Golf Course. If you refer to the Map you will see the three fields located to the south of Birchen Wood and north of Sunte House. The top field (north) is in Lindfield and the other two in Haywards Heath.

What is being proposed
Crest Nicholson have signed a seven year option on this land and are proposing to build 40 homes initially, down from 48 on earlier applications (this is just the start, click here for more details). The proposed entrance to the site will be through Gatesmead and Birchen Lane.

For additional background information click here

View the planning application and objection letters on the Planning Register
Click here to view the Third and Latest application DM/15/3415
then click 'related documents' followed by 'view associated documents'

The earlier applications are also available to view:
Click here to view the Second application 14/04475/OUT
then click 'related documents' followed by 'view associated documents'

Click here to view the First application 14/00209/OUT
then click 'related documents' followed by 'view associated documents'

View the Appeal documents on the Planning Register
Click here then click 'related documents' followed by 'view associated documents'