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| 1,765 2001 Census
1,917 (2011 Census)|
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Balcombe is a village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England. It lies 31 miles (50 km) south of London, 16 miles (26 km) north of Brighton, and 32 miles (51 km) east north east of the county town of Chichester. Nearby towns include Crawley to the north west and Haywards Heath to the south south east.
The name Balcombe may mean "Mining Place Camp". Bal is a Cornish word meaning a mining place as in Bal Maidens, and the same word may have existed in Ancient British Celtic. Although Coombe or Combe can mean a valley, it can also come from the Roman "camp". So possibly from its name Balcombe could have once been a Romano-British mining settlement.
South of Balcombe on the London to Brighton railway line is the Ouse Valley Viaduct. Designed and engineered by John Urpeth Rastrick (1780–1856) in consultation with the talented architect David Mocatta, it was completed in 1842. It is 100 feet (30 m) high and 500 yards long. It has 37 arches and was built with 11 million imported Dutch bricks.
The village has a series of murals about World War I in its Victory Hall. Lady Gertrude Denman commissioned artist Neville Lytton to paint the thirty-four feet (10 m) long by ten feet (3 m) high frescoes. The murals were featured on a television programme about the war in 2005.
Balcombe was the birthplace of Colour Sergeant (later Lieutenant Colonel) Frank Bourne DCM, who fought at the battle of Rorke's Drift in the Zulu War. He was the last British survivor of that battle when he died in Dorking in 1945. Famous residents included actor Paul Scofield.
The River Ouse was once navigable from the south coast to Balcombe, for the delivery of Dutch bricks to the viaduct.
The village has a railway station which lies just north of Haywards Heath on the Brighton Main Line. Balcombe railway station helped expand a predominantly farming community into one of the popular London commuter villages. The station offers direct services to London and Brighton. To the north of the village is Balcombe tunnel.
Test drilling and possible fracking for petroleum deposits was proposed in 2012. A protest group was formed and a picnic was held. There was considerable opposition in the local population to exploration plans. Cuadrilla Resources, the company that proposes to drill the well, engaged in public relations efforts attempting to convince villagers that the project was both useful and safe. Previous exploration by Conoco in the same area in 1986 was abandoned. In July 2013 a licence to drill the well was granted by the Environment Agency and Cuadrilla began transporting equipment and supplies to the test site. The well would be 3,000 feet (910 m) deep with a possible 2,500 feet (760 m) horizontal leg. As of August 2013 Balcombe had emerged as a focus of opposition to fracking in the Weald Basin of southeast England and vigorous protests were in progress.
In March 2014, a group of residents set up a renewable energy co-operative called REPOWERBalcombe, with a view to healing the rifts that emerged during the protests. REPOWERBalcombe aims to match the village's domestic electricity demand with community owned solar power.
Other villages within the parish include Balcombe Lane.