Buxted Reading Room - a planning application has been submitted to build a terrace of four homes on the site.

Plans for four homes on site of Buxted Reading Room

Plans have been submitted to demolish Buxted Reading Room and build a terrace of four homes in its place.

A planning application has been submitted to Wealden District Council by Buxted Parish Council. The proposal is for the houses to be two-and-a-half storeys high with the top storey in the roof. Each would have three bedrooms.

Six parking spaces would be provided, the same number as available at the Reading Room at the moment.

Controversial

The future use of the Reading Room site has been controversial because originally a condition of planning permission for a new community hall in the village was that use of the Reading Room, in Church Road, should cease.

The parish council signed a document saying that upon first use of the new hall the Reading Room would be permanently emptied with all services disconnected.

The condition was agreed after a long battle to overcome objections to the new hall because of restrictions on development within 7km of the Ashdown Forest.

Condition

But now the parish council has persuaded the council to lift that condition after taking into account that traffic movements from neighbouring April Cottage have fallen since it became a single dwelling instead of a doctors surgery.

A transport report accompanying the parish council’s planning application says that, on its own, the proposed development on the Reading Room site would lead to small increases in annual average daily traffic on the A26 and A22 across the Ashdown Forest.

It goes on: “However, such levels of increase fall well below a level that in air quality terms is measurable, or modellable, and at which any material impact may arise on any road including roads on the forest.

Traffic flows

“Taken in combination with the offset in flows from the adjoining April Cottage site, traffic flows would fall on both A26 and A22.”

The report concludes: “Overall, the combined impact on A26 and A22 across the forest of the application site in combination with the adjacent April Cottage site would be a significant reduction with a likely significant beneficial impact on air quality on the Ashdown Forest.”

The parish council says on its website that redevelopment of the Reading Room has been a long-running objective of the parish council to help with the funding of the new village hall.

Redevelopment

But, it stresses that in the event of planning permission being granted it would not be starting the redevelopment any time soon.

“We would not even consider this step until the new village hall was either built, or nearly built. There is still a very long way to go before this is likely to happen, if it ever does.

“Current estimate of costs are coming in at about £1.3 million, which is a lot of money to raise.”

The council also says that plans could change from those shown in the planning application if approved.

“The parish council have decided, at this time, that they have no wish to develop the site themselves, and the permission would be sold on and may be likely to revision by whoever bought it.”

From our archive:

Buxted villagers win community hall planning battle

Directors re-appointed to Buxted Community Hall Trust

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