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The Heath Common Design Statement has been adopted.

 The Heath Common Design Statement was adopted at Cabinet on 19th July 2018 in accordance with the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (as amended) the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning)(England) Regulations 2012 (As Amended) (Regulation 14).

The Heath Common Design Statement SPD replaces the Heath Common Village Design Statement 1999. It sets out design guidance for development in Heath Common which lies within the Parish of Washington. The guidance supplements policies in the Horsham District Planning Framework, adopted November 2015. The SPD was prepared by Heath Common Residents in consultation with Washington Parish Council and Horsham District Council in order to develop clear design principles for the Heath Common area. 

Please click here for a copy of the HCDS and ancillary documents: 

 Hard copies of the HCDS will be available to view at the Storrington Library and Horsham District Council offices. Electronic copies will also be available on the Horsham District Council website at: https://www.horsham.gov.uk/planningpolicy/planning-policy/detailed-planning-guidance/design-statements

Thank you to all those who took part in the consultation and for the overwhelming support for the revised Design Statement.  


                                      NOTICE of PUBLIC CONSULTATION of


On 3 March 2018 Horsham District Council agreed to publish the ‘Heath Common Design Statement’ for consultation. It is proposed that this document be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) by Horsham District Council. The SPD would be used by stakeholders and planning officers as additional guidance for the policies set out in the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF) and the emerging Storrington & Sullington and Washington Neighbourhood Plan.

The draft Design Statement document can also be viewed at Storrington Library and an electronic copy is available on the Horsham District Council website via the following link: https://www.horsham.gov.uk/planningpolicy/planning-policy/currentconsultations.

Furthermore the emerging Storrington & Sullington and Washington Neighbourhood Plan can also be viewed via the above link. 

The Horsham District Planning Framework can be viewed via the following link: https://www.horsham.gov.uk/planningpolicy/planning-policy/horsham-district-planning-framework.

Should you wish to comment on the draft Design Statement, we are encouraging all those who can to make their comments about this using the on-line form on Horsham District Council's website (accessible via the first link provided above). However, if preferred, comments can be emailed to strategic.planning@horsham.gov.uk or sent to: Strategic Planning Team, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham, RH12 1RL.  

The deadline for comments for this consultation closed at 17:00 on 13 April 2018

Thconsultation coincides with the Neighbourhood Plan Reg 16 consultation below. Both end on the same day Friday 13th April.


 The Heath Common Design Statement is a rewiew of the original, adopted by Horsham District Council in 1999 as Supplementary Planning Guidance.

A Working Party of local residents has been meeting since September 2017 to address what has changed in the last 20 years since the current version was published.  This process has involved amending references to up to date policy guidance, and include specific reference to the low density character of the area of land around 'the lanes'.

It is hoped that once accepted, this important document will be included in specific policy for Heath Common in the review of the Horsham District Planning Framework.

The Working Party extends its gratitude to the team of planners at Horsham District Council who have been working in partnership to produce the Document and present it for consultation. 

Click below for Working Party Agendas and Minutes 2017/18:

 08/09/17 08/09/17
 03.10/17 03/10/17
 20/10/17 20/10/17
 24/11/2017 24/11/17
 05/01/18 05/01/18
 26/01/18 26/01/18
For any enquiries, please contact the clerk of the Working Party at the following address: clerk@washingtonparish.org.uk 


History of Heath Common

Heath Common sits to the north of the A283 between Washington and Sullington. It is an attractive area of mainly detached homes in a wooded series of lanes, sitting on a greensand ridge, and bordered on the East by Warren Hill and on the West by Sullington Warren, both managed by the National Trust.

The area has a colourful history. In 1922 Vera Pragnell, the 25 year old daughter of textile magnate Sir George Pragnell, used an inheritance from her father to buy 50 acres of land.
Her aim was to establish a commune, known as “The Sanctuary”, where people of all classes could thrive as a community, and settlers soon arrived from all over England. They included various religious groups, atheists, revolutionaries, and mystics. None were conventional, and all were seeking a different way of living.

Initially some lived in caravans or tents, but Vera, gave them plots of land on which to build wooden shacks, grow vegetables and tend livestock.

Water was drawn from a well or rainwater-collection tanks and there was no electricity. Conditions were Spartan but people gelled, holding community events such as concerts and dancing.

This curious settlement attracted sensational press coverage, and there was great public suspicion about the area’s unconventional residents.

But soon the cracks began to show. People became possessive about their plots and started putting up fences.  As the original settlers died, their relatives started selling off the real estate to outsiders. Some of the original settlers became disillusioned and moved away.
Historian Chris Hare, whose book The Washington Story devotes a chapter to rise and fall of The Sanctuary, said Vera bought the original 50 acres for just £850.

Today, traces of Heath Common’s fascinating past remain. At the junction of Sanctuary Lane with Vera’s Walk, a shelter sits on what remains of the original village green, with an information board relating the story of Vera Pragnell. Almost opposite, by the red telephone kiosk, stands Sanctuary Cottage – Vera’s original home.

The heart of the original Sanctuary is now known as “Sleepy Hollow”. The area attracts many walkers, who can enjoy the nearby woods and heathland, including Sandgate Park – 30 acres of land offering delightful walks.

Evening Argus
The Washington Story – Chris Hare