Plans to construct 119 homes on land north of Mallard Drive, Ridgewood, have run into a barrage of criticism and objections.
The original approval for outline planning permission for the site was given in 2008 but it is only now that the details are being considered.
East Sussex County Council has expressed concerns about the application not following “standard planning procedure”.
It also says the development does not meet its previous sustainable transport obligations in terms of sustainability and in protecting the Ashdown Forest.
More houses and more traffic since outline plan was approved
In a letter to the planning authority, Wealden District Council, the county council points out more than ten years have elapsed since outline planning permission was granted.
If this was a new planning application, the current state of traffic in Uckfield would need to be considered.
“This reserved matters application comes forward as a result of being kept live for a considerable length of time since its initial submission in 2013.
“The principle of development here was granted earlier in 2008 and took into account the highway authority view of the proposal 12-13 years ago against policies of that time.
“The reserved matters application submitted in 2013 being formally considered again after six years after submission is not standard planning procedure and over time the town has been subject to a number of major planning consents and town centre transport improvements, representing change to the level of use and operation of the highway network.
“As an opening point of concern, the unusual planning status of this application does not require review of the highway circumstances since outline consent was granted and this authority expresses concern that any traffic issues that may have emerged since need not be evaluated or considered,” the county council’s letter states.
Route across town council’s land
The county council’s letter also shows that an access route, which it assumes is for pedestrians, is shown linking to a field in the ownership of Uckfield Town Council.
“For this connection to succeed, the Town Council is required to consent to this element of the proposal,” the county council’s letter states.
The field is, in fact Selby Meadow. The wildlife haven was officially opened in 2011 – see our story here
This week the town council has met the developer and has raised queries with regard to land in its ownership and the concerns of local residents.
The town council plans committee registered the council’s objection to all parts of the detailed plans application.
See our report here.
Travel Plan needed
The county council notes that at the time of the original submission, a Travel Plan was not included or secured in a legal agreement, known as a section 106.
“To backtrack to the s106, this included a bus route through the site to connect Framfield Road and Mallard Drive to provide sustainable travel options to residents on site and on the wider network,” the county council’s letter states.
“This was removed from the agreed planning obligations along with the financial contribution secured towards the Town Centre Improvement scheme – all being measures to enhance the town centre environment for pedestrians and promote sustainable transport methods.
“Given the variations to the proposals over time, we are left with a development which does not meet its previous sustainable transport obligations, or comply with current policy requirements as set out not just in the NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework] regarding sustainability, but also in term of protecting the Ashdown Forest.
“To address this, a Travel Plan should be required to impose environmental awareness and encourage walking, cycling, car sharing, public transport use, minimise second car ownership and reduce single occupancy vehicle use; so that current transport related policies are applied, and be consistent with other major development proposals.”
The county council has gone on to make specific objections to the details of the planning application because of “insufficient information”.
- Internal roads do not look sufficiently wide for a refuse truck and car to pass one another.
- Visitor/unallocated parking, 38 spaces in total, are distributed around the site. Some of these parking spaces are in places that do not have suitable hardstand for entering and exiting vehicles.
The county council also points out that traffic management plans will be needed to safeguard Harlands Primary School to ensure pupils and parents/carers are kept safe at school dropping off and collecting times.
*More than 60 residents have also objected.