Access solution: build a road from the Haywards Heath by-pass. Simple.

Many of the access issues could be resolved if a road were to be created from the by-pass to the St Francis sports facilities. Coaches, buses, minibuses, taxis and cars would all be able to access the community hall and facilities safely and efficiently.

A replacement community hall has been on the cards for almost ten years. So why has no-one taken this into account when planning and building the relief road and the two new major housing estates that adjoin the St Francis playing fields?

Why is this not under consideration now?

Tell Mid Sussex District Council what you think by commenting on the planning application here. Contact your local councillors at Haywards Heath Town Council and Sussex County Council to share your views.

Traffic impact at Southdowns Park

Oh dear. This is a real issue. And not one the application seems to address with any seriousness. (Sorry, this is an opinion).

So the application assumes a vibrant, functioning community hall, set in an isolated field, with no public highway access whatsover. The venue is only accessed through a private maintained (or otherwise) road. Or through a public hospital with a busy A&E department.

All the roads are narrow, with tight bends and therefore limited access for larger vehicles (delivery lorries, coaches and buses). Parking is extremely limited – and the application proposal for parking does not cater for the large-scale event numbers envisaged.

The application proposes the removal of the tennis courts to provide parking – but the c.40 spaces will not begin to accommodate the large 250-people events that are envisaged.

The traffic assessment which has been conducted has used a universally accepted methodology known as TRICS.  The study has benchmarked this application with what it considers to be comparable schemes in other cities.

A fundamental assumption in this report is that this hall is a like-for-like replacement for the Norman Hay Hall (a disused and defunct facility at the point of its destruction in 2006) community facility on the edge of the Southdowns Park site. It assumes traffic and usage levels at a like-for-like level, despite the fact that there has been no facility there for more than ten years, and the development and profile of the surrounding areas has  not been taken into account.

Assessment of usage has focused on peak hours (ie rush hour) Monday to Friday which is not the common or anticipated usage of these facilities – they will be popular at evenings and weekends, and during school hours. This impact has not been considered appropriately. You can read the report here.

Currently there is no access at all from either of the two large housing estates either side of the playing fields. The application assumes usage from people within 5-minutes walk from the venue. This could not be achieved under current arrangements, given the walls and fences that isolate these housing developments from the area. Local councillors are campaigning to increase that isolation, concerned about the impact on local housing and parking.

So how will people access the site? Access from the by-pass would address the majority of these issues. But this does not seem to be something that the council or the club seems to be considering. But if further enhancement of sports facilities at this site is seriously under consideration, then addressing the infrastructure NOW would be both sensible and pragmatic for all concerned, surely?

If you have any views at all on this, please tell Mid Sussex District Council about them now – deadline for consultation is 21 April 2017. You can add your comments here or submit them via email here.


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.