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How are Homes England using modern methods of construction during construction at Brookleigh?
Like many other sectors, the construction industry is increasingly making sustainable, efficient choices. Homes England are making sure that developer partners at Brookleigh are future-focused in their design and build techniques.
Countryside Properties, the first house builder to join Brookleighc, are employing a range of modern methods of construction (MMC) techniques such as their use of timber in structural frames for homes which bring benefits for both Countryside and the residents who will be moving in to the homes.
On Thursday 19 May 2022 MSDC’s District Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve Bellway and Homes England’s joint Reserved Matters application for 249 homes on land east of Issacs Lane and at Lowlands Farm – the next phase of housing at Brookleigh. The highly sustainable development will achieve a 31% reduction in carbon emissions against current building regulations, with all homes also meeting the requirements of the Future Homes Standard. Every new home will include renewable technologies in the form of either solar panels, air source heat pumps or hot water heat pumps. 113 of the houses within the Bellway plot – 83% of the total - will have PV solar panels and the remaining 17% of houses which are unsuitable for solar panels (either through orientation or overshadowing) will have air source heat pumps fitted instead. This technology is also underpinned by a fabric-first approach to reduce energy demand.
Countryside Properties and other Homes England developer partners will continue to use industry leading Modern Methods of Construction at Brookleigh to ensure we’re building sustainable homes for a sustainable community, for more information about these processes, please see the 8th edition of the Brookleigh newsletter.
How will Brookleigh be a 10 minute neighbourhood?
Brookleigh has been designed as a ten-minute neighbourhood. With the three neighbourhood centres, every home in the development will be within a ten-minute walk from local shops and facilities so people can pick up what they need easily and quickly within the local area. The two new primary schools will also be located at the neighbourhood centres, as will the parks – meaning these public squares will become the focal points for everyday life.
How are you involving the community in the Burgess Hill development?
Homes England will work closely with the local community to involve them in the development process as it progresses. As individual developers join the project, Homes England will work alongside them to make sure that the community is consulted as part of the Reserved Matters planning applications and kept informed throughout the construction process.
How is the additional electrical/water demand met?
The existing 132kv primary electricity substation to the west of Jane Murray Way (A273) will be extended by up to 3,020m2 to provide additional electrical capacity to serve the development although it should be noted that this falls outside of the application site boundary. The existing 132kv overhead power lines to the north west of St Paul’s Catholic College will be undergrounded. As the regional water supplier South East Water is legally obliged to provide water and manage water resources within its designated geographical area. As each developer partner joins Brookleigh to build homes, they will apply to South East Water for individual connections to service their plots. Each developer will then make a financial contribution to South East Water for them to provide this service.
Homes England have had initial and ongoing conversations with South East Water to ensure that they have the capacity to expand their provision in Burgess Hill, to accommodate the Brookleighc development, with no concerns over available water supply being raised in relation to Homes England’s development programme.
How will this development improve the situation for equestrians?
Mid Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council are currently exploring whether a connection for equestrians is possible along the north side of the A2300 through the Place and Connectivity Programme. Improvements include making use of an existing vehicle bridge across the A2300 in the west of the site, which will only be used for horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians as well as upgrading the existing Freeks Lane footpath to allow horse riders to use this connection. An extension of the Green Circle, parallel to Jane Murray Way/Sussex Way will also be provided. Parts of this route fall within the scheme boundary, other parts outside are expected to be delivered by the local authority. The proposed bridleways will allow horse riders to navigate the whole of Brookleigh from the north and the south. Mid Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council are currently exploring whether a connection for equestrians is possible along the north side of the A2300 through the Place and Connectivity Programme.
When will the schools be built?
Homes England are planning for a sustainable community at Brookleigh providing infrastructure and community facilities at the right time. The eastern primary school, expected to open in 2023, will be two-form entry with provision for early years and children with special education needs. The primary school at the centre of Brookleigh is planned to be developed later in the scheme.
The new secondary school will be developed by West Sussex County Council, with Homes England providing land for the school and making a significant financial contribution towards the cost of the facility and towards local off-site sixth form provision. West Sussex County Council are currently finalising their programme for the new secondary school which is targeted to open in September 2024.
In June and July of 2021, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) ran a public consultation about how people thought the new school should be set up and who should run it. There were hundreds of responses recognising the need for school places in the area, with a significant number of respondees also mentioning the need for school places for children with special educational needs and/or a preference for early years places to be provided. It is expected that these facilities will be included in the new school.
Following the consultation, WSCC have invited bids from several multi-academy trusts which are currently being submitted. Once they have been reviewed, the WSCC Cabinet Member for Children and Young People will make a recommendation to the Regional Schools Commissioner and it is expected that the chosen sponsor (the organisation that will run the school) will be announced in Spring 2022.
What is West Sussex County Council’s role in the scheme?
West Sussex County Council is the local highways and education authority for Brookleigh and is responsible for providing services across the county such as roads, rights of way and schools. Through the Burgess Hill Growth Programme, the County Council, in partnership with the district, is creating safe, direct and attractive walking and cycling routes and high-quality public spaces to encourage people to choose to walk, cycle and use public transport.
Are you protecting mature trees as far as possible, particularly in the Isaacs Lane area?
In 2018, Mid Sussex District Council granted planning permission for the redevelopment of the Brookleigh site (DM/18/5114), which sought to retain as many of the existing trees as possible. The Green Infrastructure Parameter Plan identifies areas of mature trees to be retained across the site. In the tender packs for potential developers, reference is provided to the parameter plan and to the Brookleigh Design Guide, section 9.5.2 which sets out principles to retain and manage habitats including mature trees.
As detailed in the parameter plan, all areas of ancient woodland habitat on the Brookleigh site will be retained, and ‘buffer zones’ around them will be kept free of development and planted with native woodland species to protect the habitat and support the project’s aim of achieving a 23% net gain in biodiversity (the amount and quality of natural habitat on site) post-development compared to beforehand.
The planting palette detailed in the Design Guide provides a wide range of tree and shrubs species which have different growing rates. This is to encourage a diverse maturity and height structure which helps to improve biodiversity, increase resilience to climate change and provide the visual depth needed to help integrate the development into the landscape. Incorporating various stock sizes also helps to create this diversity and supports the slower growth rate experienced by larger mature stock compared to transplants and whips.
Where possible, new roads at Brookleigh have been designed and located to avoid removing vegetation and an Arboricultural Impact Assessment was prepared as part of the original Outline Planning Application. Whilst it is not possible to avoid the loss of any mature trees at all, each time a new developer comes on board and produces detailed design documents to submit for planning consent the impact on trees will continue to be considered.
The full planning application that has been approved for the Eastern Bridge and Link Road part of Brookleigh (DM/19/3313) allows for tree removal where required and the tree clearance being undertaken (October 2020) is in accordance with this. Future landscaping for this part of the site will be submitted and agreed with Mid Sussex District Council.
Who is delivering the scheme and who is Homes England?
Homes England is the Government’s housing agency. They are responsible for increasing the number of homes that are built in England, including affordable homes and homes for market sale. They unlock development by releasing more land to developers who want to make a difference, and by making homes happen where they are most needed. Homes England are the master developer at Brookleigh. They have acquired the land at the Northern Arc and will make it available to developer partners as they join the project, as well as directly appoint contractors to bring forward key infrastructure at the right time.
Why is Brookleigh being developed?
The land that makes up Brookleigh was allocated in the Mid Sussex District Plan (adopted March 2018) as a strategic mixed use allocation. It is part of the broader Burgess Hill Growth Programme. In October 2019, outline planning consent was granted (DM/18/5114). The planning application can be accessed on Mid Sussex District Council’s planning register.
Where is the site?
Brookleigh is to the north of Burgess Hill lying between Bedelands Nature Reserve on the east side of Burgess Hill and the Goddards Green Waste Water Treatment Works to the west. The site is located approximately 1.5 miles to the north of Burgess Hill town centre.
What type of housing will be delivered?
A range of housing will be provided to create a mixed and balanced community, with different densities and types of housing. This could include apartments, terraces, town houses, detached and semi-detached homes and extra care housing. The properties will range in size from one to four bedroom homes, including those reserved for 55 and over and fully wheelchair accessible homes.
What sort of employment space will be available?
Brookleigh will include up to 24,000m2 of employment land to the south of the A2300, which would be suitable for a range employment uses such as offices, research and development and industry. It will maximise opportunities associated with the directly adjacent ‘Hub’ employment site to the west through encouraging business linkages and integration between new and existing residents. The wider development will also accommodate employment floorspace within the neighbourhood centres, which could comprise small scale office accommodation suitable for start-up and grow-on business. There are also requirements to deliver pedestrian and cycle access, vehicular access and car parking.
The creation of employment land in this location will maximise opportunities associated with the directly adjacent ‘Hub’ employment site to the west, encouraging business linkages and integration between new and existing residents. Homes England are committed to building a sustainable community at Brookleigh , providing opportunities for new and existing residents to benefit throughout the construction period and for generations to come.
Will there be public open space for all?
A rich variety of attractive open spaces supporting biodiversity as well as meeting community needs for recreation and supporting health and well-being will be delivered. This includes extensive areas of natural open space encompassing the river valleys, woodlands and grassland areas (providing opportunities for walking, cycling and exercise) and three formal parklands located close to the Neighbourhood Centres to meet needs for children’s play, informal sports and passive recreation.
Will there be sufficient parking for residents and visitors across Brookleigh?
Parking will be provided in accordance with local planning policy – it will include car parking courts, communal car parking, on-street and private provision. It is proposed that 30 public electric vehicle charging points will be located within the three mixed use local centres. It is also proposed that the development will include private electric vehicle charging points within the residential development plots.
Residential cycle parking will also be provided with up to 8,451 residential cycle spaces proposed on the site. Cycle parking to serve non-residential uses will be confirmed as the plans progress.
How will Brookleigh connect with Burgess Hill Town centre?
Existing pedestrian and cycle connections will be enhanced and new connections created across Jane Murray Way and Sussex Way at logical points in the development phasing, so as to integrate Brookleigh with the existing communities to the south. The enhancement of the Green Circle and the new ‘Green Super Highway’ through Brookleigh will create strong east – west pedestrian and cycle connections linking the employment and sports area in the west to Wivelsfield Station in the east.
The approach to public transport will ensure that new and existing facilities are well connected to existing and new residential neighbourhoods, Burgess Hill town centre, and employment areas.
How will the local road network deal with the increase in traffic that the development will bring?
We are committed to delivering a well-connected development and are working closely with Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC), West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and Highways England to deliver a wide range of improvements which will benefit both existing and new residents of Burgess Hill.
- Increasing the capacity of key junctions including three existing roundabouts on the A273 Jane Murray Way, at York Road, Coulstock Road and Sussex Way.
- A spine road through the site which will provide a link road between the A2300 and the A272 Isaacs Lane. This will also relieve parts of the existing highway network in Burgess Hill by providing a more convenient route for some through traffic travelling between Isaacs Lane, the A2300 and Jane Murray Way.
- Link roads into the site, which will allow construction traffic to enter and exit the site. The Eastern Bridge and Link Road (planning consent granted January 2020) will join Freeks Lane and Isaacs Lane (A273) and the Western Link Road (planning consent granted July 2020) will join the A2300 to the Northern Arc
- Contribution to the dualling of the A2300 being delivered by WSCC.
- A Public Transport Strategy, developed in consultation with WSCC and Metrobus, which will ultimately see buses connect the Northern Arc with key destinations in Burgess Hill via buses every 12 minutes, like the town centre, railway stations and key employment areas. Discussions are ongoing with other bus operators to further enhance this bus service.
- A three-tier network of cycling and walking routes throughout the Northern Arc, which will cater for a mix of ages and abilities.
Will there be an impact on the Bedelands Nature Reserve?
This falls outside of the application boundary therefore will not be affected by the development.
How will the project mitigate for the loss of green space and countryside?
The development includes a total of 82.05 hectares of strategic green infrastructure comprising ancient woodland, sports pitches, grassland, parks and gardens and designated play provision. Together with the meandering water courses, these existing features define the character of the new community and frame the development. Homes England will plant an estimated 200,000 new trees, shrubs and plants across Brookleigh. Countryside Properties, the first developer on site, are planting two trees for each one that must be felled at their Freeks Farm site.
As well as making pleasant spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy, the network of green spaces throughout Brookleigh will have the important positive impact of creating habitats for native British wildlife. Brookleigh is required to deliver 10% biodiversity net gain across the site as part of the outline planning consent. Homes England have committed to providing a 23% net gain, 13% over the required standards. Biodiversity net gain is an approach to development that leaves nature in a better state after development than it was in before. All areas of ancient woodland on the site will be preserved, as well as areas that have also been identified to create new hedgerows, woodland, ponds and wildflower meadows, and the ecological condition of the River Adur will be improved.
Will this development have an impact on local footpaths?
The Northern Arc avenue will feature continuous pedestrian and cycle infrastructure along its length providing an east-west connection between the A273 and A2300 in the west and Maple Drive in the east. A network of walking and cycling routes will be provided to offer an alternative corridor to the Northern Arc avenue. The secondary pedestrian and cycle route will create a safe and convenient link connecting neighbourhoods, local centres, schools and employment areas within Brookleigh. They will also integrate the new settlement and existing residents of Burgess Hill by providing substantial north-south connections. No current public footpaths will be closed as a result of the development.
In addition, the Green Circle will provide a recreational route through the site contributing towards the aspirations for a circular route around Burgess Hill.
What impact will the development have on local flood plains?
There will be no increased risk of downstream flooding as a result of the development. New natural drainage features or Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) will be incorporated within green spaces, outside of sensitive woodland and tree buffer zones to drain water from the public realm, provide visual interest, enhance the ecological value and increase biodiversity.
What are you doing to encourage sustainable development?
Creating an environmentally sustainable community touches on every aspect of the project. Key themes include reducing carbon in the construction of new homes, making them more thermally efficient and using electricity and other renewable energy sources such as solar panels and heat pumps. Reducing carbon from private car use includes supporting the transition to electric vehicles, but more fundamentally it’s about reducing peoples’ need to travel by car – by providing accessible neighbourhood centres and other facilities within walking distance of home and by making cycling and public transport more attractive ways to get around.
We are also using landscape and other natural design features to protect the community from the effects of climate change. For example, using trees and shrubs to provide shade and cooling during summer heat waves, or planting street trees to create a more comfortable environment for walking when it’s hot. Our plans also include a site-wide Sustainable Urban Drainage system to retain water after heavy rainfall and carefully manage its flow and discharge from the site to avoid downstream flooding.
Will construction take a phased approach?
The approach will be phased over several years (2020-2033) and construction management plans will be submitted alongside the detailed planning applications. Infrastructure will be constructed early with phase one delivering the new bridges and link roads in the east and west of the site, the secondary school, the first primary school, a Centre for Outdoor Sport, employment land and two neighbourhood centres. Phase one is expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2025
What is Countryside Properties doing at Freeks Farm?
Countryside Properties are the first house builder to join the Brookleigh scheme. They are building 460 new homes at the Freeks Farm site, 237 of which will be affordable housing. Building work on utilities and foundations is under way, and the first homes are expected to be ready for people to move in by late summer 2022.
How do I get in touch?
Phone: Sarah Ward on 07776 527 643