Plans for 46 homes now submitted for Ridgewood House land

A Google Earth image showing the location of Ridgewood House, off Lewes Road, Uckfield.

A full planning application for 46 homes on land at Ridgewood House, in Lewes Road, Uckfield, has been submitted to Wealden Council.

Last year Wealden Council said a development on the site “would not be significantly out of context with its existing environment”. See: Planners share initial views on Ridgewood House new homes proposals.

Now a design and access statement with the planning application WD/2020/2611/MAJ  says 13 flats and 33 houses are proposed.

This would include three one-bedroom homes, 30 two-bedroom homes, eight three-bedroom homes, and five four-bedroom homes.

More affordable

The statement says: “This mix reflects the council’s desire for smaller, more affordable, housing to address the existing bias towards larger detached properties identified in the council’s strategic housing market assessment.”

Sixteen homes, that’s 35% of the total, would be ‘affordable’.

A new access would be about 50 metres to the north of the entrance to Ridgewood House and the development would be in two clusters, one to the north and one to the south of the Grade II listed building, each cluster accommodating 23 homes.

Development boundary

Ninety-eight parking spaces would be provided, two for each home, with a further 12 unallocated for visitors.

The site is described as outside, but next to, the development boundary for Uckfield in the 1998 Wealden Local Plan, outside the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and outside any Conservation Area.

Five listed buildings in addition to Ridgewood House, are within a kilometre of the site, and a there’s a registered historic park and garden at Horsted Place.

Potential

The statement says a Strategic House Land Availability Assessment, in 2009, considered the site to have potential to accommodate 62 homes but over the course of discussions with the council about the planning application the number of homes proposed has been reduced from 60 to 46.

It adds: “A full application has been submitted as opposed to an outline application in order to give the council certainty over the quality of the scheme given its sensitive setting adjacent to heritage assets.

“It also assists in speeding up the delivery of much-needed housing as there is no subsequent reserved matters phase.

Housing land supply

“All of the homes within this scheme would contribute towards the council’s five-year housing land supply.”

The statement says the primary driver behind the layout was the protection of Ridgewood House and other heritage assets and their settings.

The aim of building in two clusters was not to interrupt the view from the driveway of Ridgewood House “which will remain exclusively for the use of the occupants of Ridgewood House, and help it maintain its prominence and commanding presence on the site”.

Crisis

The statement says Wealden Council’s housing crisis shows no sign of abating.

It continues: “The available evidence indicates that the housing shortage is substantial and the council are reliant upon approving planning applications to achieve a five-year housing land supply.

“At present there is no alternative plan led mechanism. This makes the need to provide additional housing in the district more pressing still, and should provoke the council into attaching very substantial weight in favour of the housing which the application would deliver.

“Overall, there are no adverse impacts arising from the proposed development which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

• The statement says Community Infrastructure Levy would be £780,915.96 – and 15% of that, £117,137.39 would go to Uckfield Town Council.

See also:

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