Maresfield Parish Council has expressed shock and disappointment over a planning decision allowing 25 new homes, and a ‘community hall’, to be built at Straight Half Mile.
The council says approval of an outline application by Wealden Council planning committee (north) will “destroy for ever the fine rural approach from the north into the village with its expansive views over fields and woodland”.
It continues, in a press release: “The parish council is aware of the pressures on Wealden to approve new housing developments, but this should not be at the cost of applying sound planning principles, and policies, relating to the countryside, and also ignoring material considerations such as access, traffic movements, and parking for the community facility, as well as un-solved drainage issues.
“Parish and village residents support the parish council’s desire to preserve the rural approach to Maresfield.
“There were many local objectors, and our local district councillor, Cllr Peter Roundell, spoke very forcibly against the proposed development.
“The parish council is not opposed to further limited development in Maresfield – it just has to be in the right place.
“Maresfield has already delivered more than the required 50 homes in the current Wealden Plan.”
Maresfield Parish Council chair Martin Craddock said: “I sat through all 90 minutes of the planning committee’s debate and the discussion did seem to be towards rejecting the application.
“I and two others submitted video presentations explaining our opposition. However, under the current electronic meetings regime used by Wealden, councillors would not have seen these unless they uploaded and viewed them.
“Prior to Covid we would have addressed the meeting and they would have had to hear what we said.
“When the vote was taken two councillors voted for approval but with reservations. How can this be so? Surely if you have reservations you should vote against or seek a deferment whilst the reservations are sorted out.
“Additionally, three councillors, who I don’t recall as having spoken in the debate, voted for approval and the final count was 7 – 4 in favour of approval. I thought the whole process was most unsatisfactory.”
See an Uckfield News report about approval of the planning application: Maresfield Straight Half Mile 25 homes plan approved.