Thousands oppose plans for new gypsy site on the edge of Mid Sussex and Crawley

Site of the planned gypsy and traveller site in Copthorne SUS-190213-171056001
Site of the planned gypsy and traveller site in Copthorne SUS-190213-171056001

Huge public opposition is being mounted against plans to build a new gypsy and traveller site on the border of Mid Sussex and Crawley.

The plans are to be considered by Mid Sussex District Council on Thursday (February 21) and look set to go ahead - despite opposition from thousands of residents.

The council is proposing to change the use of land at Lower Hollow Copse, Copthorne, to house 13 permanent mobile home pitches on two separate areas. It is also proposed to include a site manager’s office, amenity blocks, access roads and a footpath along Copthorne Road.

But local residents are objecing strongly. A petition signed by 2,500 people has been submitted to the council, along with 357 letters of objection.

Residents say that the site - known locally as Pot Common - is in a rural location and any development would be incompatible with the surrounding area. There are also fears over the impact on already-stretched health and education services, increased traffic and a threat to wildlife.

Opposition is being put forward by the Copthorne Village Association, among others, and Crawley MP Henry Smith who says the development would have ‘a negative impact’ to the Pound Hill area of Crawley.

Residents say that the proposed development is not in Mid Sussex Council’s district plan. The plan, they say, favours Burgess Hill and Pease Pottage as areas for gypsy sites.

Council planners say that there is a clear need for gypsy accommodation to be provided in the district.