Maresfield Straight Half Mile 25 homes plan approved

Plans for up to 25 new homes at the Straight Half Mile, Maresfield, have been approved by a Wealden District Council planning committee.

Straight Half Mile, Maresfield (file photo)

The outline application is for 1.43 hectares of land to the east of the Straight Half Mile.

Provision of a children’s nursery had been removed from the scheme by the applicant, Portman Homes, in April but a “community hall” remains.

A report to planning committee members weighed the “planning balance” of 25 new homes in a location in open countryside.

Social benefits

“The weight to be given to the conflict with the council’s development strategy is substantially reduced due to considerable shortfall in housing land supply.

“Set against that conflict are the social benefits of addressing the under supply of housing in the district. 

“The delivery of housing is a material consideration in the context of the very significant current housing land shortfall,” the report said.

Five-year land supply

See this website’s story from June about the lack of a five-year land supply in Wealden and its effect on planning decisions.

The application attracted a large number of objectors, which included Maresfield Parish Council.

Part of the discussions at the Wealden planning committee featured Uckfield’s stretched infrastructure.

Cllr Helen Firth

Cllr Helen Firth (Uckfield New Town) said: “Those people will not stay in Maresfield to do their weekly shop because they don’t have sufficient shops in which to do that and they will travel into Uckfield.

“Do they have a doctor’s surgery? I don’t believe they do. Once again they will be into Uckfield and it’s the same with the schools.

“Where is the infrastructure to cope?”

Cllr Gary Johnson (Uckfield Ridgewood and Little Horsted) said there was a possibility that land next to the application site could be brought forward for housing in the future.

“I think we will be looking at a further development if we pass this one. Although I understand we have the opportunity turn that down in the future, we will then be pushed with precedent from the site that is already there,” he said.

Head and shoulders photograph of Councillor Gary Johnson

Cllr Gary Johnso

He felt it was a “speculative” application with the developer “chancing their luck”.

“Maresfield, there is not a lot there, a small shop. What we are going to have is more traffic going into Uckfield, or worse still traffic heading north on to the Ashdown Forest.

“I don’t think we should be building here.”

Cllr Peter Roundell (Maresfield), who could not vote because he is a local member, said the parish council and residents did not want the north-east entrance to the village, with its “magnificent” landscape outlook to the countryside “blighted and compromised” by being concreted over.

  • The developer will have to submit a further plan with details of the scheme before building can begin.

Here’s our list of housing developments in Uckfield and surrounding villages which have planning permission or are seeking permission. It was first published in July 2020.

New Uckfield housing: here’s the hit list

See also:

School closes after staff member tests positive for Covid-19

Covid-19: another week in Wealden with no deaths

Kamsons goes green after move to new head office in Uckfield

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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