Planning permission is being sought to build a single house in the garden of The Belfry, a Grade II Listed Victorian property in New Town, Uckfield.
The application is being opposed by the town council.
The site is described in the planning application as land north of The Belfry, 6 New Town, Uckfield, which is largely gravelled hard-standing for the former boarding school but with garden space towards the rear.
It goes on to say the new owners of The Belfry intend to revert the school (and staff residence) into one large family home with a “modest extension to the rear and a new access with garage parking”.
A statement accompanying the planning application said: “Given the length of time the building has been under-used, renovation works are quite expensive including underpinning and essential maintenance.”
Elsewhere, the document stated: “The idea of an ‘outline’ planning application in this instance is to secure an uplift in value with detailed proposals following on, but it is crucial that funds are generated through the grant of planning permission for a new dwelling to cross-fund the renovation of the cherished original building to the south.
“Applications for outline planning permission seek to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development would be acceptable to the local planning authority, before a fully detailed proposal is put forward.
“This type of planning application allows fewer details about the proposal to be submitted; then, when outline permission has been granted, the applicant will have the certainty to invest in detailed designs and will prepare to lodge an application for approval of the details (“reserved matters”) before work can start.”
The town council’s plans committee objected on four grounds:
- The addition of a new house would adversely affect the street scene;
- The plan is considered to be ‘infilling’ and a new house would be detrimental to the site as a whole and have an adverse impact on the uniqueness of The Belfry;
- It would set a precedent for further infilling;
- Over-development of the site.
Cllr Jackie Love said building a house next to the historic property would affect the character of the building which had been built in the 1800s.
“It doesn’t seem right,” she commented.
Cllr Jeremy Beesley wondered if further applications for the site would follow, if this application was approved.
A letter of objection has also been sent to the planning authority – Wealden District Council – from a resident of Shepherds Way, Ridgewood.
It said the proposed building would be too close to The Belfry, and especially to Little Garland Cottages, and would detract from the attractive Victorian neighbours.
The Belfry was Listed by the government last year. The property was built in 1892.
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