Councillors have refused the latest in a line of planning applications for homes to be built off South Street, East Hoathly.
Members of Wealden Council’s planning committee south went against a recommendation of officers who said the scheme for up to 50 homes should be approved because there was a clear need for housing within the area, including a need for affordable housing.
Reasons for refusal included the scale of the proposal being significant within the village and being set to the rear of “characterful ribbon development fronting South Street, on the less dense approach to the centre of the village’.
They said loss of this greenfield site for development would not respect the character of adjoining development nor promote local distinctiveness.
“The development would amount to an unacceptable backland or ‘tandem’ form of development within open countryside.”
Officers had accepted, in a report to the district council’s planning committee south, that development would be contrary to policies restricting development in the countryside but said the issue of housing delivery was considered to be a significant material consideration in favour of the application, outweighing the policy conflict.
And, the report said, the application accorded with the three objectives of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
It concluded that while the development would impact on the character of the immediate locality the site was visually contained and there had been a “significant” reduction in the number of units previously proposed for the site.
The report continued: “Furthermore the retention of the majority of the woodland to the north of the site and the pulling of development away from the northern boundary has also addressed the council’s previous concerns on the first application regarding impact on habitats and ecology.
“The adverse impacts are not considered to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the advantages of the delivery of up to 50 dwellings in the context of the district’s lack of a five year housing land supply.”
Previous applications to build on the site included one scheme refused in September 1970. An appeal against that decision was dismissed.
Another plan for 74 homes was refused and dismissed on appeal in November 2019.
Then in May last year an application for up to 55 homes was refused. An appeal against that decision has been lodged.