A CAMPAIGNER has won a years long battles to save a meadow from an “inappropriate” development.

The High Court in London quashed Mid Sussex District Council’s grant of planning permission to build a substantial house on The Play Meadow in Cuckfield.

Flis Irving, a resident of Cuckfield, has campaigned to keep The Play Meadow open for use by local people, including the local nursery.

The land is owned by Mid Sussex District Council, which has rejected a community bid to secure its future for local people in favour of selling it to a developer.

It is the second time in 16 months that planning permission for a large house on The Play Meadow has been overturned by the High Court. The first time, the Council admitted its error before a full hearing.

Mr Justice Gilbart, a leading planning judge, decided that the Council had granted planning permission unlawfully.

He found that the planning consent breached planning policy and he focused on the harm to the Cuckfield Conservation Area which the Council had identified before it went on to grant planning permission.

Flis Irving said: “It is the first time in almost three years that there has been full scrutiny of the Council's actions, by an independent, qualified expert, and he found that the Council had acted unlawfully.

“It is significant that Mr Justice Gilbart highlighted the importance of preserving The Play Meadow as part of the Cuckfield Conservation Area for the benefit of local people. I hope that the Council will finally take note and stop fighting for a third party to develop it."

James Pavey, planning dispute partner at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, acted for Flis Irving and said: “The Council has been trying too hard to grant permission, so that it can sell The Play Meadow for what amounts to inappropriate development.

“It is now difficult for the Council to avoid the fact that a substantial building in a conservation area, blocking clear views over the South Downs, would harm that conservation area.

“The Council should take stock, think hard about the environmental harm that such development would do, and act in the interests of the local community by dedicating The Play Meadow for public use as open space.”