Environmental statement not needed with plan for 450 homes

Updated on Wednesday, April 14, 2021: An Environmental Statement will not be needed to accompany a planning application for up to 450 homes to be build at Horstedpond Farm, Ridgewood.

Wealden Council, which was asked to determine whether a statement was needed, said it wasn’t.

It ruled: “The proposed development would have no significant impact upon relevant natural resources, and any waste pollution or hazard associated with the development scheme can be effectively controlled by conditions.

Satisfied

It added: “The council is satisfied that the development of this site will not cause any significant loss of valuable agricultural land, will not impact upon any area of flood protection, and will not compromise or undermine any acknowledged asset of natural, ecological heritage, landscape or cultural value within the site’s vicinity.

The council did, however, say in a letter to a planning consultant: “There is a particularly pressing issue in regard to transport impacts, and possible in combination impacts arising from development of this site, and others at the same time.

“You and your client have engaged in discussions with East Sussex County Council highway authority in order to manage the manner in which applications would be assessed.

Magnitude

“From what I have seen and read so far, I do not think the highway impacts is of sufficient magnitude to become an Environment Impact Assessment issue. I place significant weight on the joint discussions that are unfolding with the county council.”

Uckfield News original story on August 11, 2021: Proposals for up to 450 homes in a new development at Ridgewood, are being considered by Wealden Council.

Developers are seeking a screening opinion for the site at Horstedpond Farm, which is bounded to the south west by the A22 Uckfield by-pass and to the north west by Lewes Road.

Photograph shows new fencing which went up around the Horstedpond Farm site in April after hedging was removed. The proposed development land is to the right. Little Horsted roundabout ahead to the left and Lewes Road off to the right.

Immediately to the north are Ridgewood House and its grounds – where Wealden has recently said development of 49 homes “would not be significantly out of context with its existing environment”.

Also to the north is the Uckfield Millennium Green.

Ridgewood Stream runs through the north eastern part of the site in a shallow and enclosed valley.

Ancient woodland

To the south and east are Horstedpond Wood, an area of ancient woodland.

According to a letter accompanying the request for a screening opinion, the land is currently in agricultural use and divided into a number of distinct parcels by belts of trees.

The letter says the Grade 2 listed Horstedpond Farmhouse sits within the development area, along with a range of other buildings in residential and agricultural use.

Horstedpond Farm, which can be seen in this Google Earth image, shown by a red marker, could be at the heart of a development of up to 450 homes..

Farmhouse

It says: “The setting of this internal group of buildings, and particularly the farmhouse, will inform the layout and deposition of development as the project moves forward.”

It continues: “In a more general sense the site lies within a relatively enclosed landscape, outside of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Views to and from the site are thus limited, and within the site itself there is a considerable sense of enclosure, particularly along the river valley and in the eastern sections.

Agricultural land

“The area adjacent to the A22/A26 roundabout is more open and subject to internal views across the agricultural land.”

The letter says the quantum of development would be likely within the range of 400-450, with the nature of the various enclosed parts of the site formulated to reflect the localised characteristics.

“The uniquely different character of the various parts of the site is one of its principle characteristics. That will also provide significant opportunity for a range of affordable and other specialised housing that will meet wider social and community requirements.”

Shallow valley

The letter says the northern section in a shallow valley along the Ridgewood Stream is “capable of performing a very significant role in assimilating the development into the wider landscape and acting as a link between the central areas of Uckfield (including the Ridgewood development to the north that is presently under way) and the countryside beyond, including the Uckfield Millennium Park.

“This has the potential to be a valued strategic recreational and ecological resource, and its potential will be fully explored and integrated with the proposed development as possible.”

More details about the proposals, contained in application WD/2020/6508/SO can be found on the Wealden Council website.

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