A Government planning inspector has overturned refusal of a planning application to convert the former Methodist Church in Framfield Road, Uckfield, to three flats.
Wealden Council had refused the proposal on the grounds of highway safety and the integrity of the Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area/Special Area of Conservation.
But the planning inspector, Sheila Holden, said the development would only generate a small number of additional vehicular trips.
She said that consequently it wouldn’t give rise to a significant increase in traffic flows, or adversely affect safety on either Framfield Road, or its side streets.
She continued: “In any event, the appeal site is conveniently located in relation to the facilities of Uckfield.
“It is only a five-minute walk to the station and just beyond that is the town centre with two supermarkets and an extensive range of shops.
“Bus services also operate from the town centre. No future resident would need to depend on a car and they could choose to live without one.
“This could reduce the number of additional vehicles that the proposal would introduce into the area.
“I note that the highway authority has requested that covered and secure cycle parking for four bicycles should be provided. This would encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport and is a matter that can be secured through a planning condition.”
In relation to the Ashdown Forest the planning inspector said the appellant had undertaken, during the appeal process, to contribute towards provision of a Suitable Alternative Green Space, and towards Strategic Access Management and Monitoring.
She was content that undertaking was robust and said she had taken that into account in reaching her decision.
The inspector went on to say the Government was seeking to significantly boost the supply of housing.
She said: “The proposal would provide three additional homes in a location where there is a high level of accessibility to a range of services and a genuine choice of transport modes.
“It would deliver a small, but nevertheless valuable, contribution towards the district’s housing supply.
“It would do so by refurbishing and extending an existing building which is no longer required for its previous comment use.
“These are all significant factors in the scheme’s favour, regardless of the council’s housing land supply.
“There was no substantive evidence that the proposal would cause unacceptable danger for road users in the vicinity.
“Although competition for existing parking spaces can cause inconvenience for residents, the additional demand from the proposal is likely to be small, and an insufficient reason for the scheme to fail.”