Wealden councillors were told they would have little chance of winning a planning appeal if they refused permission for a new home to be built in a garden at 30 Sycamore Court, in Uckfield.
Doug Moss, team leader of town planning at the council told members of the planning committee, north, who met online yesterday, that there had been three appeals relating to planning applications for that site in the last four years.
Objections relating to the character and appearance of proposals were whittled down until the last appeal when a planning inspector upheld refusal of planning permission on just one point, the inability of the applicant, at that time, to mitigate the effect of the development on the Ashdown Forest.
Mr Moss said that was no longer an issue. It would be possible to mitigate through contributions to a package of SANGS (Suitable Natural Alternative Green Spaces) and SAMMS (Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategies).
Stacey Robins, head of planning told the committee that if the council lost another appeal relating to this site they would be “in costs territory for unreasonable case processing”.
Uckfield Town Council which has been fighting a losing battle to protect open spaces on the Manor Park Estate had objected to the planning application and district and town councillor Paul Sparks reiterated concerns in a letter to the planning committee, particularly about road safety because the site is opposite Manor Primary School.
But Cllr Peter Roundell said committee members needed to be realistic and one of the problems they had on planning was having to pick up on members’ mistakes made several years ago, “things that were agreed then, which we would not seek to agree now”.
He took on board the arguments made against the application but said the council wouldn’t have “a hope in Hell” of winning anything on appeal, and it shouldn’t be wasting its money on this.
Cllr Brian Redman, who seconded Cllr Roundell’s proposal to approve the planning application, queried whether Manor Park was open plan at all.
He pointed out there was a huge hedge around the property at 30 Sycamore Court.
“Like many properties developed and built at that time these green spaces have gone. Hedges have appeared and been allowed with no-one complaining.”