‘Horror’ of hundreds of residents at 700 homes plan

HUNDREDS of residents in Hailsham have expressed horror at plans to build 700 homes in the north of the town.

North Hailsham and Hellingly Residents Union has gathered 689 signatures to date on a petition opposing the plans by Terence O’Rourke Ltd for land between North Hailsham and Hellingly in the triangular space between New Road, Park Road and the A271.

The petition called for Wealden District Council to remove the land from potential future building sites in its core strategy.

It will be the third application made to develop the site in the past eight years. Planning consent sought by developer Bloor Homes to build 525 homes at the site was refused by Wealden in 2005.

At the time, the Sussex Express reported planning officers saying the proposal: “represent(s) an unjustified and unacceptable form of development for a site which lies in open countryside outside the development boundary for Hailsham.”

Grant de Jongh, chairman of the residents’ union, organised a protest with other residents outside Wealden’s offices during a planning committee south meeting yesterday, August 16.

David Phillips, head of Wealden planning policy, said the committee would not discuss north Hailsham at its meeting or the strategic sites development plan.

Grant de Jongh feared the peaceful natural environment he wanted for his children would be destroyed by the house building plans.

Mr Jongh told the Sussex Express: “From my personal point of view I bought my home two years ago after reading the district council’s masterplan which said it wanted to preserve that rural area.

“Homes would be devalued by the new properties, and of course there will be congestion and more traffic on the A271. It won’t be safe.”

Some residents were worried about social housing with new inhabitants being brought in from outside the town, Mr Jongh said.

The residents’ union petition said: “Developers purchased the land six years ago fully aware that hundreds of residents did not want them to develop it.

“Now the residents of North Hailsham and Hellingly need to stand together and fight this agenda to the end. 

“If we lose there will no longer be a difference between Hailsham and Hellingly.

“The areas will be merged.”