Despite 77 letters of objection and representations by affected neighbours, SOFLAG and Ian Simpson the ward councillor the MSDC Planning Committee B voted 7-1 with 2 abstentions at last nights meeting to approve this application.
This was very disappointing considering we felt we had a strong argument for refusal based on over development of the site which would be out of character with the immediate area and contrary to the emerging Burgess Hill Neighbourhood Plan.
However that was all deemed irrelevant by the committee chairman Mr Andrew McNaughton, Conservative Councillor for Ardingly & Balcombe who at the start of the debate reminded his fellow councillors they must only consider this application against the planning officer’s previous reasons for refusal, namely the height of the roof and existence of a southern facing bedroom window, both of which were easily fixable by the applicant lowering the roof and removing said offending window.
In these situations where the council planning officer deems the application be just a re-submission of the previous application and not a new application then we face an almost impossible task if the planning officer has previously refused the earlier application under delegated powers on minor design issues.
Having said this it was still extremely disappointing to hear some district councillors views that the Keymer Road/Folders Lane area does not merit consideration as an area of townscape value where inappropriate development should be discouraged. We thought our elected representatives opinions had moved beyond that of the previous decades – clearly not, which only makes us even more determined to fight this outdated view.
Mr Graham Knight, Lib Dem Councillor for Burgess Hill St Andrews ward proposed the application be approved and he was seconded by Mr Richard Bates, Lib Dem Councillor for Haywards Heath Ashenground. The only vote against was Vice Chairwoman Cherry Catherine of Burgess Hill Leylands ward and we thank her sincerely for her support.