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The Society's Role in Planning

The Society reviews all planning applications which fall within its geographic area of responsibility and our main objective is best described as:

"the conservation of Cuckfield's built heritage, its fabric and its setting"

We use planning applications to inform us about any proposed building work but, as the Society is not a statutory body, we have no more legal status than any other member of the public. We do, however, examine each application to see if it adheres to our aims. Over the years we have built up a set of guidelines:

  • does the proposal affect the setting of Cuckfield or its surrounding countryside?
  • does it affect one of the two conservation areas within the village?
  • does it affect a listed building, or a group of buildings significant to the townscape?
  • is it a special case covered by our guidelines?

Our main concern is precedent - a seemingly harmless application if granted consent could be used by big public or private consortia as a lever for really major development anywhere in or around Cuckfield.

In addition, we do try to watch out for other changes, like the proposal to replace our brick pavements with tarmac or concrete and the proposal to remove the South Street railings - and this is where members are the eyes and ears of the Society.

The Parish Council is a statutory body and, as such, is consulted in planning and other matters as of right. The Cuckfield Society has no standing other than to represent its members, but we do have the advantage that we are not bound by the parish boundaries or any procedural rules. We do have to be careful not to be seen as always being negative - indeed we supported the route of the Cuckfield by-pass and devoted a great deal of time to ensuring that the Development Brief for the Meadowlands site in the centre of the village was drawn up by Mid Sussex District Council in a way that produced the best possible compromise between the needs of the Council to comply with the South East Development Plan and the various, differing opinions of the village. We are proud that, along with the Parish Council, we were able to secure a Brief that was acceptable to all.

This means that, at times, we have to put aside personal interests and act for the good of the village as a whole. Standing together with the Parish Council, we believe we can ensure that the views of Cuckfield are heard at local and national level.

If you have any concerns about planning issues affecting the village, please email our Heritage Committee.