Changes at poet Shelley's Horsham birthplace could see end to lorry menace

Plans for changes at the former home of the poet Shelley near Horsham could lead to road improvements in the area.
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That’s the hope of people living near to Shelley’s birthplace – Field Place in Warnham – who say local roads have been plagued by heavy lorries for years.

The property’s current owners are seeking planning permission from Horsham District Council to move topsoil and chalk onto a field on the estate and to build a new access route to the property.

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Kenneth Pritchard-Jones and his wife bought Shelley’s former home in 1983 and have been organically farming the land since then. Now, as well as importing soil and chalk for diversity and agricultural improvements, they want to build an access route to the property from the Old Guildford Road.

The Field Place estate at Warnham - the birthplace of the poet ShelleyThe Field Place estate at Warnham - the birthplace of the poet Shelley
The Field Place estate at Warnham - the birthplace of the poet Shelley

And their proposals have gained support from many locals who are fed up with lorries currently using Robin Hood Lane to get to the estate.

In a statement to the council, the couple say: “The linking of the existing tracks on the estate to Old Guildford Road is intended to remove the need for soil trucks to pass through Robin Hood Lane, Warnham or the villages of Broadbridge Heath and Warnham and to access the estate using main A roads.”

Many letters of support have been submitted to the council. One resident said: “As residents of Warnham, we have experienced extensive disruption for many years from lorries travelling down Robin Hood Lane and Broadbridge Heath Road bringing soil to Field Place. The lorries are too wide for the road, making it impossible to drive without fearing an accident.

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“They have caused destruction and dangerous road damage. This route should never have been approved for use and it should never be re-approved. Field Place cannot be allowed to ever use this road again for transportation of soil etc. The new access should be approved immediately and bring an end to this situation."

Another agreed: “There currently is a significant volume of construction traffic using Robin Hood Lane for the works considered under this application. This is the case despite Robin Hood Lane having a width restriction in force. The construction lorries are causing serious damage to Robin Hood Lane which is not constructed to deal with this number of heavy vehicle movements. As a result, dangerous situations are created and the road surface needs to be repaired frequently.

“A new access from Old Guildford Road would alleviate the above concerns so I support this application.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Field House on August 4 1792 and lived there – except when he was away at school and university – until he was 19 years old.

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His second wife Mary Shelley, author of ‘Frankenstein’, lived in the house in the 1840s with their son Percy Florence Shelley.

The estate was run as a Home Farm by the Shelleys who owned much of the land between Horsham and Worthing.

Shelley had a life-long interest in farming and new developments in agriculture and appreciated the introduction of new plants, as well as promoting vegetarianism as a healthy lifestyle.

Field Place is Grade 1 listed both because of its architectural and historic importance and because of its international importance as the birthplace of the poet.

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