Residents’ victory in battle to save Horsham farmland from development

A battle to stop 473 houses being built on Horsham farm fields has ended in victory for local residents.

Horsham District Council turned down plans to build the houses on land at Newhouse Farm, Old Crawley Road, Roffey, in July last year.

But real estate company FCP Land 4 Ltd lodged an appeal against the council’s decision - hoewever a planning inspector this week turned down the appeal.

And residents - who launched huge opposition and created a campaign group called Keep Our Green Spaces to fight the development - are jubilant.They are now planning a public celebration with a picnic at Beech Road recreation ground - which adjoins the farm fields - on Sunday August 15 at 1pm.

Local residents have saved green fields near their homes from development

Spokesperson Heather Playfoot said: “It’s so exciting for the community ... well done everyone!

“We get to enjoy the beautiful landscape!”

Horsham Council originally rejected the proposals because the farmland is within a High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is within an essential countryside location and outside a defined built up area.

It also expressed concerns over a new access off Crawley Road and a lack of sufficient affordable housing.

However, FCP Land 4 maintained that the proposed development site was only partly within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and that its ‘distinctive landscape characteristics are less apparent.”

However planning inspector Dr Andrea Mageean disagreed and dismissed the appeal.

In her ruling she stated: “The development would be a significant intrusion into this essentially rural space.”

And she said that she found the development would cause ‘significant harm to the landscape and scenic beauty of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and that “a development of this scale in this location would not be in the public interest.”