Background Information

Where are the Birchen Fields
The land is located to the north west of Birchen Lane and West of Gatesmead and Brook Lane. 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 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 48 homes initially (this is just the start, click here for more details). The proposed entrance to the site will be through Gatesmead and Birchen Lane.

Why now
On 25 March 2013 the South East Plan was (partially) revoked by the government. The revoked elements are to be replaced by council District and Neighbourhood Plans.

The SE Plan contained a requirement for MSDC to provide 17,100 new homes within the district over the next 20 years. The Mid Sussex District Plan proposes a reduction in this number to 10,600. However, in the absence of adopted District and Neighbourhood Plans, there exists a planning “void”. Developers are able to propose developments on sites not included in these plans by pushing the requirement to meet the old number of new homes and that is what they are doing throughout the Mid Sussex area, creating a planning 'free for all'.

Why are we concerned

Greenfield sites are particularly attractive to developers as they provide the maximum profit and landowners are eager to realise the value of land they own.

We have already seen planning permission granted for housing on greenfield sites in Lindfield including the Limes in Newton Road, and the Wates development off Gravelye Lane, together with the Glenbeigh development in Ardingly Rd/Hanlye Lane (just to the west of the Penland Farm development proposal).

More worrying for the future is the current rash of planning applications for land on the north of Haywards Heath, including Birchen Fields. Other local sites under threat are Sunte House, where Banner Homes are trying to get planning permission to build houses on the south of the site and a large development of over 230 houses at Penland Farm. If these planning applications are approved then it will open the flood gates to other developments in the area and the greenfields on the northern edge of our town will be lost forever. Borde Hill were also, until recently, looking to develop Sugworth Farm and also have another parcel of land for sale.

If the Birchen Fields development is given approval it is most likely all the land surrounding these fields are also very likely to be developed (see map). This could be up to, and possibly including, the golf course, and also the other side of the railway line. The fields to the west of Birchen Fields have recently had fencing erected although these are not currently part of the development plan, which show future intent. For additional details refer to The Future page.

What is being done to oppose the development

Save Birchen Fields Action Group (SBFAG) comprise local residents as well as others who use the footpaths, enjoy the area and recognise the importance of preserving the beautiful landscape. 

We are actively engaging councils, town councils, sussex councils, residents groups, and numerous other societies and associations. We are having meetings with our local councillors and contacting our MPs to state our concerns and reason for objection. We are also working on a formal submission in opposition to the planning application.

If you would like to support us and help us fight this planning disaster please register your interest here