Heathfield plans for 235 homes

Heathfield development protest. Donna Paterson (front) SUS-161205-091933008
Heathfield development protest. Donna Paterson (front) SUS-161205-091933008

Heathfield families were shocked to hear about housebuilders’ proposals that could damage their much-loved local landscape.

At Monday’s meeting of Heathfield Parish Council’s planning and highways committee, developers presented a proposal outlining plans for 235 new homes on land off Marklye Lane. The site falls within the AONB, is high on the ancient east-west ridgeline and described as ‘sensitive to change, due to pastoral character’ in Wealden’s own landscape assessment. It also features in JMW Turner’s famous drawing The Vale of Heathfield.

Land agents Samuel and Sons and Parker Dann joined forces with landowner Hugh Riley to present a ‘working document’ outlining plans to build on fields to the west of the lane.

More than 30 local people attended the meeting. Resident Sophie Turner told the Express: “We were absolutely horrified to be honest. I have lived here for 15 years and we always feared there was a posssibility we could lose this beautiful view. We can see as far as Mayfield. We were told that previous proposed plans fell by the wayside because Mayfield people objected - their uninterrupted rural view would be despoiled by buildings. This is the ancient east to west ridgeway and there is a line of trees to prove it. In about 1914 there was an old golf course where the land drops down behind our gardens. The Government says we must protect our beautiful landscapes. When people were asked in a recent poll what is special about Britain, they said ‘our countryside.’”

A year ago Express was told trees were being felled on nearby land and council officers were called to stop the work. Samuel and Son director Andrew Samuel said: “On Monday working documents were put forward. We are not releasing details of this site as it is work in progress. There will be an exhibition in the village’s Community Centre on June 8 when more detailed plans will be presented. Heathfield has been told it must accommodate 800-900 new homes. They must go somewhere.”

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