What can I do?

There are many ways you can get involved.

Urgent deadline for comments to the council is 21 April 2017.

Send your comments to Mid Sussex District Council. You can say as much or as little as you like. Focus on the things that matter to you. Add your own opinions and examples – that is very powerful. Make sure you include your postal address or they will ignore your comments.

You can comment on the application and proposals here. Your letters may be published on this site once the council receive them.

Tell us what you think on Twitter @southdownslocal

Or email us at southdownslocal@gmail.com



Have your say – New planning application for community hall submitted to MSDC

You have until 21 April to comment on the St Francis Social & Sports Club planning application for a new community hall at Southdowns Park. You can find the application and associated documents here on the Mid Sussex District Council planning portal. The development proposes a large, two-storey extension to the existing 18m swimming pool, with enhancement to changing facilities, and conversion of the current tennis courts into parking. This extension will provide a cafe and licensed space for regular events for up to 250 people, running until midnight on any day of the week.  In due course the club plans to create an additional three all-weather sports pitches to be available 24/7 to enhance sports provision in Haywards Heath. This phase is not part of the current application.

The council has awarded a grant of £1.12m (see their news page here.) The community hall is intended to be a replacement for the former disused Norman Hay Hall, which was destroyed by fire in 2006. The monies were provided by housing developers as part of a Section 106 agreement.

There are a number of issues that residents feel should be considered by the planning authority regarding the suitability of the location, with regard to road, pedestrian and cycle access.

The site is only currently only accessible via a private road which is not maintained by the council – so is never repaired, cleared, cleaned or gritted by them. It is narrow, with blind bends. And barely sufficient space in parts for two cars to pass. There are two children’s play areas on either side of the road. There are no public footpaths or pavements. Lighting is extremely poor.  This road currently serves residents, providing access to their private parking. Public rights of way are permitted to access the football pitch, bowls club, tennis courts and swimming pool via the Princess Royal Hospital.

Post your comments to the council here. Please include your postal address – otherwise the council may disregard your comments.

Welcome to Southdowns Park

Southdowns Park

This website is run by and for the residents of Southdowns Park.

We love this place! it has so much history. It’s a truly beautiful setting. And we are all very aware of the precious nature of this amazing place. It’s been here for over 150 years. The main building is grade II listed – it costs us a lot to keep it viable. But we believe it is worth it. It’s an important part of Haywards Heath history. It’s a gorgeous place. And we want people to be enjoying it 100 years from now.

We love the way Haywards Heath is developing and growing. We support change and development.

If this is the right place for a huge growth in sport then we will support that – but the infrastructure needs to be right to make that happen.

We have concerns that if the sports pitches and proposed community hall are developed at St Francis Sports and Social Club, then the council must give proper attention to access. Currently there are no public roads, footpaths or cycleways that serve this area. It is only accessed by a privately maintained road – narrow, with blind bends, two children’s play areas directly off the road, with no adequate pavements and poor lighting.

If access was created from the Haywards Heath relief road, most of these issues could be addressed. But as things stand, this seems to be a very poor location for a community facility. Parking is limited. There is no capacity for coaches or buses, given the tight bends and narrow roads. Most access is via a busy hospital with a live A&E department. This is hardly ideal.

Residents urge councillors at all levels to step back and consider the appropriate infrastructure to make this development possible. We want to work with the planning authorities to get that right, so we can support this. Currently it is hard to see how that can work.