Downlands Farm: Council specifies scope of environment statement

Downlands Farm. (An Uckfield News file photograph)

Update on April14, 2021: The scope of an environmental impact assessment required by Wealden Council to accompany a planning application for up to 500 homes at Downlands Farm, Uckfield, has been laid out.

It is to cover landscape, and visual effects, biodiversity, and water resources, and flood risk and cultural heritage, waste, and land contamination.

Baseline

And, the council says, the statement should address the baseline conditions for the site as it stands in 2020, the construction period, and the completed development.

This should be based on the physical extent of works, with the nature of the baseline environment including the location of sensitive receptors, the distance over which effects will be significant, and the presence and type of pathways, or corridors along which effects may be spread.

Cumulative impacts

Wealden Council says the statement should also consider the cumulative impacts of the development with others, both contested, and planned.

Wealden head of planning and environmental services Stacey Robins lists the 1,000 home Ridgewood Farm development (WD/2019/1773/MRM), SHELAA sites expected to come forward, and applications including WD/2019/2466/MAJ, 35 homes on land east of Coopers Green Road (since refused), WD/2020/0410/MAO 90 homes on land off Eastbourne Road (now approved) and WD/2020/1650/F, five homes, at Charlwood Manor.

Mr Robins adds in a letter relating to the scope of the statement: “There has been collaborative work with others promoting land at, or on the edge of Uckfield.

Impacts

“This is to ensure that the highway authority at East Sussex County Council is able to consider the in-combination impacts of development upon the local highway network, and in order to provide robust advice to the district council when it comes to consider planning applications.

“All the while that work remains live and is progressing, there is no need to scope in the cumulative highway effects from this scheme.”

Mr Robins also says the application will have to be screened for a Habitat Regulations Assessment to ensure the impacts on Ashdown Forest have been considered, and the proposal will not adversely affect the Ashdown Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area.

Scoping opinion

Original Uckfield News story on October 23, 2020: Gleeson Strategic Land has requested an environmental impact scoping opinion from Wealden Council for a development of up to 500 homes, parking, infrastructure, landscaping and access at Downlands Farm, Uckfield.

The request is accompanied by a report identifying the land, describing the nature and purpose of development, and an explanation of the “likely significant effects” of the development on the environment.

The council has a statutory period of five weeks to respond to the request and give an opinion about the information that should be provided in an environmental statement accompanying a planning application.

Full details

Full details of the request, and the Gleeson scoping report, can be seen on the Wealden website here. The application number is WD/2020/6511/SCO.

The developers submitted a formal environmental impact assessment screening request in July and “after discussions on the emerging scheme and technical assessments” decided to submit an environmental statement in support of a planning application.

The site is to the north west of Uckfield and contains a mix of agricultural land and areas of ancient and semi-natural woodland. 

By-pass

It is split into two by the A22 Uckfield by-pass, the larger part (described as Site Area A) is to the east of the by-pass and a smaller area (Site Area B) to the west.

The scoping report says there are no statutory ecological or landscape designations on the site, and no historical designations either.

It says Suitable Alternative Natural Green space/recreation would be provided within Site Area A. No built development is planned for the other site.

Environmental statement

The report lists topics to be considered in the environmental statement. They include climate change and greenhouse gases, population and human health, cultural heritage, transport and access, air quality, noise and vibration, land contamination, wind microclimate, daylight, sunlight and overshadowing, agricultural land, lighting, waste, and accidents and disasters.

There’s more information in the scoping report about each of the topics. See WD/2020/6511/SCO on the Wealden website.

More Uckfield News stories about Downlands Farm development proposals can be found by following the links below:

Developers publish website about Downlands Farm proposals

Reader’s Letter: Why Downlands Farm should be saved from development

Reader’s letter: Support for Downlands Farm development

Downlands Farm homes plan: battle lines drawn

Petition aims to stop development at Downlands Farm

New Uckfield housing: Here’s the ‘hit list’

See also:

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