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‘A spectacular failure!’ Worth Parish Council unanimously object to planning proposal for travellers site in Copthorne

In a packed hall last night, Worth Parish Councillors unanimously objected to proposals for a change of use of land at Lower Hollow Copse off Copthorne Road.



Before the meeting had even begun there were some tensions from residents as to why Mid Sussex District Council were not intending to be present at the meeting.

A Council spokesperson for MSDC said:

“As declared to the clerk of Worth Parish Council in our communication of 1 October it will be best to review Worth Parish Council’s written comments following the meeting this evening and make written comment to the Planning Officer in response. We will also attend the relevant MSDC planning committee meeting where the application will be determined.”

In what was expected to be a heated public meeting, the mood was in-fact calm and resilient with only a handful of the public asking to speak.

Starting with a presentation by the Chairman of the Copthorne Village Association, those in attendance were taken through a whole host of reasons as to why the application was flawed.

It was never going to be a easy journey for the application with over 2,600 objections already publicly posted on

The Chairman of the CVA pointed out that the application was an example of a ‘spectacular failure’ by the applicants citing numerous flaws including outdated surveys and lack of consultation with both residents and the travelling community.

The mood of the meeting was confirmed when after making his presentation he was awarded a large round of applause from the public, and this was further supported by Councillor Gibson who congratulated him on it.

Following the vote, the Chairman of the CVA said:

“The Copthorne Village Association are pleased Worth Parish Council share our view the latest plans for a Gypsy and Traveller site at Old Hollow are once again unacceptable in planning terms.

It is incredible Mid Sussex District Council have still not undertaken any form of consultation with the Travelling Community whatsoever.

The latest design of a total of thirteen pitches ridiculously includes eight pitches designed for three person occupation which are intended for families with children on the Council waiting list for a pitch.

The CVA believe the current joint application should be withdrawn and resubmitted as one application based on a proper design when up to date reports and technical details are available to support it.”

Whilst those who attended last night and others who have objected strongly to the plans will be happy with the result, the final decision is now back with MSDC and with all eyes now watching with rapturous anticipation tensions are unlikely to cease for quite some time.


Crawley school students launch petition for change as funding cuts threaten their education

The petition has been launched by some students at Thomas Bennett Community College and already has over 200 signatures.



The school has been in the news over the past few months due to the funding cuts by TKAT.

With teachers leaving the school and residents community meetings being held with councillors it has been and continues to be a turbulent time for all associated with the school.

Now some students have taken it upon themselves to launch their own petition aimed it seems at changing the school for the better.

The students say:

“We are Students that are currently attending Thomas Bennett. We are undertaking our GCSE’s and are month’s away from exams. With limited welfare support throughout the school, such as a medical room assistant or a pastoral support assistant for each year we are struggling tremendously with the way the school is run due to low funding.”

The student who has launched the petition also mentions how he emailed the CEO of TKAT raising his concerns but was told it ‘wasn’t in their hands and overall should stop talking about it’.

Whilst the petition does not mention it there is a feel that the aim is to bring the school back into public sector as stated by Crawley Council leader Peter Lamb who has show his support of the petition.

The petition states:

“Over the years Thomas Bennett has struggled with funding, only to which this struggle became increasingly more difficult when the academy, TKAT, took over our school. Profit not students success is what this academies aim is and large group of students including me are ready to do whatever needs to happen for something to change! Whether that’s a whole year walkout or a strike with the whole school. “

It adds:

“A walk out is something TKAT does not want to face especially with media coverage and limited time for year elevens, a whole year will not just get bad qualifications with missed time but will also reflect on the education that is being provided for students by this school run by the academy.”

The very fact that students themselves have now made the decision to make a stand shows how passionately the pupils feels about their educational needs but a viable outcome still seems distant.

A spokesperson from the Kemnal Academies Trust commented,

“We welcome our students’ active involvement in their education and the Trust has been working directly with the students at Thomas Bennett.

Funding is a national issue for Education affecting all schools, with the West Sussex “worth it” movement taking a leading part in the campaign to improve funding for all schools”.

The petition can be read here.

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