Lindfield Neighbourhood Plan - Pre Submission Plan

Cllr Alan Gomme, Chairman of Lindfield & Lindfield Rural Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.     

I’m happy to report that excellent progress is being made by the Steering Group and our consultants from Action in Rural Sussex and rCOH. That progress includes the Pre-Submission Plan, essentially a draft, being agreed by both Lindfield & Lindfield Rural Parish Councils and the publication of it by Mid Sussex District Council. 

The Pre-Submission Plan contains a number of policies that have been drafted following considerable interaction and consultation with residents of our parishes over the last 18 months. These policies will apply for the plan period up to 2031 and include areas where Mid Sussex District Council and the Parish Councils will encourage some small developments and changes, and other areas where development will be resisted. However, given the recent history of about 250 new houses having been granted planning permission in our parishes since April 2012, there is no requirement within the plan to provide for any large housing developments.

Starting in late October or early November, there will be a consultation period of six weeks, during which time you are able to review the plan and comment on it should you wish to do so. It will be available on the Lindfield Parish Council’s website and there will be the appropriate link to that from Lindfield Rural Parish Council’s website. If you would prefer to read a printed version, these will be available to study at both the councils’ offices and the Haywards Heath Library during normal opening hours.

During November we will be holding further ‘Pop-In Sessions’ in the King Edward Hall’s Jubilee Room on Tuesday evening 19th November from 7pm to 9 pm and on Saturday morning 23rd November at Scaynes Hill Millennium Village Centre from 10am until midday. Please watch out for banners and posters advertising these events.  

We invite you to send your comments and opinions to the clerks of either Lindfield Parish Council ( or Lindfield Rural Parish Council (

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

As you may or may not be aware, the village has started the process of creating a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’. However, in the wake of the decision by MSDC to grant permission to Wates to build over 200 homes off Gravelye Lane to the East of the Lindfield, we ask some key questions of Faustina Bayo (from Action in Rural Sussex), Andy Spooner and Alan Gomme from the Lindfield Parish Councils. 


What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is a framework and policies for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. It forms part of the statutory development plan for the area when it passes a referendum. It may deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport). Neighbourhood Plans have to be subjected to an independent examination and referendum in order to bring them
into force.


Who is putting it together?

Neighbourhood Plans can be prepared by either a parish/town council or a neighbourhood forum where there is no parish/town council. The Lindfield and Lindfield Rural Neighbourhood Plan is being put together by representatives of both Parish Councils, with enormous help from various community working groups. They are being guided by the consultants from Action in rural Sussex (AirS).


What or who is/are AirS? Are you a company profiting out of this legislation?

AirS is an independent charity supporting rural communities. Community planning has been a key service for many years. Neighbourhood plans are a community plan and we have the local expertise and knowledge to provide a service to parish councils to assist them in developing their NP. For more information about AirS, visit


In the light of the approval of massive development off Gravelye Lane, why should we bother with this? Won’t the Neighbourhood Plan also just be ignored by Council/Government?

An approved Neighbourhood Plan’s policies are full planning policies and have the full force of law within the area covered by the plan. All applications for developments during the 20 year life of the plan will be expected to conform to them. The Wates application did not have to conform to any Neighbourhood Plan policies because the NP does not yet exist. Also, MSDC does not have an approved District Plan and could not demonstrate a five year land supply.      


Will it just look like a plea from ‘NIMBYs’?

No, because the NP will not stand up to scrutiny - or be adopted by the local authority – if it simply objects to all development and growth. It has to be in general conformity with the emerging District Plan which will inevitably include growth targets for the area. NPs are about maximizing the benefit of this development for the community and shaping it as much as possible by type, tenure, location, scale and method of delivery; not simply saying no.


When is it likely to be completed and in place?

The aim is to have the plan ready for submission to the local authority by November 2013 for a referendum in May 2014.


If I have got a comment or opinion on the future of Lindfield, where can I voice it? 

Please contact either Lindfield Parish or Lindfield Rural Parish Council by telephone or email in the usual manner (full contact details appear in the Lindfield Parish Directory & Year Book).

Proposed new development off Gravelye Lane, Lindfield

Lindfield Preservation Society just missed the copydate for Feb's magazine for this article, written by them, about a new development in Lindfield...

Wates the developers have applied for planning permission to build 230 houses on green field land off Gravelye Lane. Combined with the high-density housing estates that Lindfield has already been compelled to accept at Newton Road and Lyoth Lane, this scheme would add 1,000 new residents to the village – a population increase of 20%. It would put 600 additional cars on our roads (figures based on West Sussex County Council census data). This kind of speculative development is grossly disproportionate to the scale of our village and the capacity of its infrastructure.

Nor is there any need for it. There are currently approved sites for more than 4,000 homes in Mid Sussex, which developers have not taken up. This should be more than enough for them to be getting on with, especially as the historical completion rate is c. 400 houses per year.

Even if there were a need, this site is entirely inappropriate for large-scale development. A housing estate of this size would do further, serious damage to a local infrastructure that is already overstretched. Local roads are already congested at peak times, schools and medical facilities are oversubscribed and water and sewage systems are under considerable strain. Bland assurances from the developers that they would work with various bodies to mitigate the impact of their proposals are as meaningless as they are vague.

Our countryside is precious. Once it is gone, it is gone for good. Before more of it is lost, there should at the very least be a convincing demonstration of an overriding local need. There is clearly no such need here.


Concerned residents can help by sending their objections to Mid Sussex District Council Planning Department before the deadline of 8 February.