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Response to Nexus regarding their proposals for a development south of Hazel Close. (July 2015)

Response to Nexus regarding their proposals for a development south of Hazel Close.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed development on land South of Hazel Close. Very little detail has been provided at this stage, but we note that you have referred to the Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan, which will be a material planning consideration. We welcome your proposal to provide dwellings that meet local needs, but would direct you towards homes that are suitable for 'last time buyers' to downsize to. Against this background, we believe that we can best assist you at this stage by describing the type of development that the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to support.

The site is clearly outside the village boundary and sits in a gap between pockets of ancient woodland. It is a significant wildlfe corridor. It is immediately obvious that, in order to avoid any detrimental impact on the character of the landscape, any development will need to be low density with significant buffer zones and provision made for wildlife. In particular, Burleigh Woods must not be allowed to become isolated or compromised by construction activities, such as SuDS. These key objectives would be most easily met through a development of single storey dwellings wth reasonably sized gardens. Permitted development rights should be curtailed or removed to avoid future development creep. The number of dwellings should be significantly reduced (at least halved) from the indicative number that is currently proposed. It is appreciated that a significant reduction in numbers will affect the viability of the development and in this respect the Neighbourhood Plan is realistic in that it will support innovative solutions that best deliver its overall objectives. If reducing the proportion of 'social affordable' housing would balance reduced dwelling numbers, then the Plan could support such options. Another approach for this site might be to provide a small number of one and two bed 'starter' homes on a separate site in the village. The development South of Hazel Close would then be limited to a uniform building style and resident type which would be expected to minimise both vehicle movements and noise. The separate 'starter' homes development would best serve the local community if the buildings were sold on the basis of covenant such that re-sale is restricted to local residents (meeting specific criteria) and 80% (say) of the market value. We are aware that similar schemes have been implemented elsewhere in the country.

We hope that you will find these comments useful and constructive. There are other issues, such as the present limitations on infrastructure and other services in the village that need to be considered, but the strategic differences between what you are proposing and what the Neighbourhood Plan could support need to be resolved first.

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