Updated: January 12:
A bid to slice 75 per cent off the “roof tax” for 146 new homes at Mallard Drive, Ridgewood, is being opposed by Uckfield Town Council, writes Paul Watson.
Its plans committee last night (January 11) unanimously agreed to recommend Wealden District Council refuse the application from Heron Land Developments and uphold the original agreement.
Heron has asked for a cut in what is known as the Section 106 money because the town centre roadworks (phase one) cost less than anticipated and they would have to pay for measures to alleviate pressures on the Ashdown Forest (see original story – below).
Cllr Duncan Bennett, deputy mayor, Trust Independent New Town, predicted that whatever the town and Wealden councils decided, the developers would take the case to appeal.
“I think it is out of our hands, anyway,” he commented.
Cllr Barry Mayhew, Liberal Democrat New Town, said if the council supported the developers it would set a precedent.
Cllr Donna French, Trust Independent, North, said when campaigners were seeking further amendments to the second stage of the roadworks, they were told there was not the money to re-look at the scheme.
Members of Uckfield Town Council plans committee present at the meeting were:
Chair: Cllr James Anderson, Trust Independent, North
Vice-chair: Cllr Chris Macve, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Duncan Bennett, Trust Independent, New Town
Cllr Mick Dean, Trust Independent, New Town
Cllr Donna French, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Jackie Love, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Barry Mayhew, Liberal Democrat, New Town
Our original story
Developers who have permission to build 146 new homes off Mallard Drive, Ridgewood, want to cut their contribution towards reducing traffic congestion in Uckfield town centre.
Heron Land Developments are seeking to modify a Section 106 agreement accompanying the outline planning permission which specified they should pay £10,000 for each property. They want this reduced to £2,500, writes Cathy Watson.
They say the cost of the first stage of town centre improvements was lower than anticipated – £1 million instead of £2.75 million anticipated – and that funds already been collected for stages two and three meaning they could be delivered without a Mallard Drive contribution.
Heron says that the percentage of traffic going from and to the new Mallard Drive via the town centre had not been taken into account originally. It was expected that only 53% of the traffic from their development would use roads towards the town centre in the morning peak hour and 50% in the evening.
And the developers say that it would be reasonable to expect the 1,000 homes development at Ridgewood Farm to contribute towards the cost of town centre improvements, enabling a re-calculation of the Mallard Drive share.
Heron also point out, in a document before Wealden Council, that in addition to the £10,000 per unit for town centre improvements they were now being asked to contribute to the cost of providing Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS) and a Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy (SAMMS) to mitigate the impact on the Ashdown Forest of an increasing number of visitors.
This would be £5,000 per unit for SANGS – amounting to £730,000 – and £1,710 per unit – £249,660 – for SAMMS. The total payment would be £979,660.
The document says that at a meeting between the developers and council officers in August 2015 it was recognised that this additional contribution “was significant and could affect the delivery of the permitted development scheme off Mallard Drive”.
A full statement submitted by Heron in support of modifications to the Section 106 agreement can be seen on the Wealden Council website.
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