Trader plans to fight for right to stay

6th January

An artist’s impression of the proposed new development

After 36 years of trading in Heathfield High Street the owner of the Sapphire Star (formerly Mr India) says he is very upset at the prospect of having to close his business.

Mr Hena Akther Chawdhury says traders face losing their businesses and customers but hopes that his 20 year lease will give him the right to stay.

He explains: “We are not happy about it and a lot of others are unhappy too. The developers have been trying to get permission for a long time and my landlord is not happy either. It is very upsetting.”

The latest planning application WD/2018/1083/MAO is for 12 shops and 10 flats and an underground car park. It was submitted on behalf of Piers Compton Development Company and will be considered by members of Wealden’s Planning Committee South Committee on 12th January. The original application was submitted in 2018.

There have been 39 objections with reasons such as lack loss of community facilities and lack of parking cited. Others on Facebook said the underground car park may cause ground movement. Heathfield & Waldron Parish Council also has a number of concerns including overdevelopment, excessive height of the building and the potential impact upon neighbouring properties. The locality as well as unsatisfactory access arrangements on to a busy road and the dangerously close proximity to the entrance to Risingholme were also mentioned.

Others disagreed saying more flats are needed in Heathfield and that ‘the town has to learn to change and adapt’.

Look out for another update after the meeting.