A Haywards Heath site earmarked for major development has been bought by government housing agency Homes England.
Hannah Sharpe started a petition calling for more open space to be included in development off Hurstwood Lane, Haywards Heath. Pic S Robards
A total of 375 new homes, of which 30 per cent will be affordable, burial grounds, allotments, primary school and country park are proposed off Hurstwood Lane.
Homes England has now purchased the land from Mid Sussex District Council and will be submitting a new planning application for the site following engagement with the public and stakeholders.
Before the sale was announced, resident Hannah Sharpe started an online petition calling for more of the Hurst Farm site to be given over to open green space and not developed.
So far it has been signed by more than 1,800 people.
This week she said: “The sale of council owned land at Hurst Farm to Homes England represents a terrible deal for the residents of Haywards Heath
“Not only was the land sold for approximately £3million less than the council’s own valuation but the development will likely see residents’ open space reduce by five hectares.”
While Burgess Hill is also seeing significant new housebuilding taking place, she feels it was managing to secure more extra green space for its residents than Haywards Heath is.
According to a release announcing the sale, a variety of open spaces will be provided, including a central village green, ponds, play areas for children and a country park, while pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will be able to use a car free ‘greenway’ along a section of Hurstwood Lane.
Kate McBride, head of planning and enabling at Homes England, said: “As well as ensuring much-needed new homes are constructed in communities, we’re passionate about the broader environment. By providing these infrastructure works, local people and wildlife will be able to enjoy a well-planned neighbourhood for years to come.”
Judy Llewellyn-Burke, deputy leader at Mid Sussex District Council, added: “New housing is essential if we are to meet the needs of our growing population and provide much needed homes for future generations. However, just as important is new infrastructure to support these homes.
“By using public land as part of this project, we have been able to work with Haywards Heath Town Council to shape the proposals and maximise the amount of infrastructure provided.
“The development delivers significant infrastructure improvements for Haywards Heath, with the new school, allotments, cemetery and country park supporting people from all walks of life.