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CPRE Sussex urges rejection of West Hoathly Brickworks application

28th April 2023

The proposed development of 108 houses is unsustainable and environmentally damaging.

We urge Mid Sussex District Council to refuse planning application DM/23/0827 (West Hoathly Brickworks, Sharpethorne, RH19 4PB) as being, overall, contrary to the Council’s District Plan policies, to West Hoathly’s Neighbourhood Plan and to national planning policy. 

Although we support use of brownfield sites rather than greenfield, the development proposed should be sustainable and appropriate for the location.

National planning policy requires development within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) to be limited in scale and extent, and major development within an AONB to be refused except in exceptional circumstances. This scheme is over-sized for local needs therefore is not limited in scale or extent and the site is not allocated in the District Plan for development of this scale. The proposal does not have any justifying exceptional circumstances to override harm to the High Weald AONB.

The proposal also risks harming the SSSI and ancient woodland within and around the overall site, contrary to both national and District Plan policies. 

The location means that residents would be heavily dependent on car journeys on congested minor roads for access to services, schools, shops, work and leisure. The proposal is therefore contrary to District Plan policies for sustainable transport and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

The brownfield part of the site will need re-purposing via a sustainable plan that respects the site’s sensitive location and protects the adjacent SSSI and ancient woodland. That means that it should be of limited scale and extent, landscape-led, and reflect local needs by combining new facilities suitable for a variety of small-scale local business enterprises (providing on-site employment opportunities for local people) and attractive rural exception site affordable housing. What is needed now is a dialogue as what would work best and how to make it happen.

Read: CPRE Sussex response to West Hoathly Brickworks planning application 26.4.23