Major development plans for Heathfield Park

Heathfield Park gates

Heathfield Park gates

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A proposal for 600 new homes, doctor’s surgery, business units, a nursery, tennis centre, cafe, conference centre and cricket school is on the drawing board for the 350-acre grounds of the 17th century, Grade II* Listed Heathfield Park.

Developers say the scheme will be put before Heathfield parish councillors at a meeting on Monday, October 10 and then discussed with members of the Heathfield Partnership, schools, clubs and organisations before its final submission to Wealden District Council in the New Year.

Details have been released by chartered surveyors Samuel and Son of Hailsham Road on behalf of estate owner Dominic Wainford. Their statement says: “Plans are afoot to regenerate Heathfield Park into a commercially viable entity by, among other things, making it open to the general public.”

As well as hard development, the scheme would include 85 acres of open parkland incorporating a two mile circular walk and cycle route. There would also be a permissive path linking the Green Lane estate and Community College so students would not have to circumnavigate the wall that surrounds the estate and busy adjoining roads.

Andrew Samuel said: “With at least 800 houses allocated to Heathfield as part of Wealden’s draft Local Plan, it’s hoped that the Park and its immediate proximity to the town and existing and proposed residential developments can provide much-needed infrastructure, services, income and jobs as well as specialist sports, recreation and leisure facilites for use by local people.”

He went on: “A once in a lifetime opportunity to provide Heathfield and its vibrant community with what they need and deserve as the town develops. Tunbridge Wells has Dunorlan Park so why can’t we create Gibraltar Park?” Part of the park has SSSI status due to habitats provided by Ghyll woodland. It is home to the source of the River Cuckmere.

Building at Heathfield Park (originally called Bayley Park) began in 1677. In 1895 it was remodeled in Georgian Revival style. The Gibraltar Tower commemorates Lord Heathfield’s successful defence of Gibraltar from 1779 to 1782.

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