Update on Wednesday, December 23: Plans for up to 50 new homes to be built in Blackboys have been approved by Wealden Council’s Planning Committee North.
Conditions attached to the approval include 35% affordable housing provision and 5% serviced plots for custom and self-build units.
See more conditions in minutes of the meeting here.
The committee discussed proposals on Thursday, December 10, for nearly 20 acres of land south of Framfield Road, in the village.
From an Uckfield News story on Friday, December 4: Originally the proposal was to build 80 homes but the applicants agreed to reduce the development to a maximum of 50.
Framfield, Hadlow Down, Buxted, Isfield and East Hoathly Parish Councils and Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council all objected to the scheme for 80 homes. There were objections from 128 households too.
Framfield Parish Council says, in a report to Planning Committee North: “Our parish has seen a steady but large quantity of new builds and conversions in recent years. The location of this application was never sustainable, as highlighted by previous dismissed appeals.
“Nobody would deny the need for affordable housing, but to what detriment?
“We have a duty to protect the rural landscape. With a climate emergency already announced locally by Wealden District Council as well as globally, this application offers no meaningful benefits to reducing our carbon footprint.
“Eighty houses, with potentially two cars per household, will result in an instantaneous step backwards.
“With another application for 88 houses just a couple of miles down the road in the same parish, the potential to destroy a peaceful, rural setting is high.
“The potential to promote invitations from other preying developers if this is approved will see a cascade of applications that will destroy the countryside in similar settings.
“As a parish we are contributing to the housing need, proportionally to our size and location (if not more), but 80 additional houses is obscene.
“Please listen to our residents and neighbouring councils. There is only one logical determination for this application – refusal.”
In response Wealden planning officers agree a proposal for 80 houses at the site would have an adverse effect on the character of the village and would therefore not be sustainable development.
But they say the reduced scale would enable the use of landscaping to help mitigate the effects of the development in views from the road.
And they continue: “Also, the reduced number of units could allow for layouts that could respect the development pattern of the village and this would be assessed at reserved matters stage.
“The highway authority have removed their objection on the grounds of highway safety.
“The village does provide some services which residents of any development could help support and there is a bus service that can provide access to nearby towns for employment.
“The absence of a five-year housing land supply does have significant weight in the planning balance and it is considered that the principle of 50 dwellings here could make a meaningful contribution to the housing land supply of the district and balance the effects of residential development on the character of the village.”
In considering planning balance the planning officers go on to say: “It is accepted that this site is set outside of any adopted development boundary, however the council is not able to demonstrate a five year supply of housing so this conflict with the development plan in this regard is afforded substantially less weight in the planning balance.
“It is considered that the site is acceptable, in principle, for residential development. The development proposal would meet three overarching objectives of sustainable development … an economic role, a social role and an environmental role.”
Read more about this planning application, WD/2020/0734/MAO, in a report attached to the agenda for Planning Committee North on the Wealden website. It is item 10 on the agenda.