Proposals for 550 new homes at Downlands Farm, Uckfield, are before Wealden Council.
Developers have asked for a screening opinion for land on both sides of the A22 Uckfield by-pass.
It includes 167 acres to the east, between Snatts Road and the A22 by-pass described as site area A, and 33 acres to the west described as site area B.
There is ancient and semi-natural woodland on both pieces of land and site area A includes agricultural land.
A full description of the land is included in an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report published on the Wealden Council website.
The report says outline permission is sought for up to 550 homes, with parking, infrastructure, landscaping and access, and Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space/Recreation within Site A.
A statement says there would be “no built development on site area B”. Part of that is located in Flood Zone 3, at high risk of river flooding.
Back in 2006 Wealden refused a planning application for 750 homes on Downlands Farm. The application included employment space, neighbourhood centres with primary school, community hall, small shops and a managed country park.
The council’s decision was upheld after an appeal in 2009. Reasons included that the site wouldn’t be “particularly accessible” and exhibited signs of high car dependency.
There was a strong ‘stop Downlands’ campaign, based largely on environmental issues.
That site faced the Uckfield by-pass and ran from the boundary of Lake Wood in an irregular shape towards Budletts.
Details of the request for a new screening opinion, dated July 20, appeared on the Wealden website this week.
As late as July 6, at an overview and scrutiny committee, Wealden Council’s planning and development portfolio holder Ann Newton denied any knowledge of a new planning application relating to Downlands Farm.
Cllr Helen Firth who represents New Town, Uckfield, had expressed concern about the town’s road network, saying it couldn’t keep up with development. She was particularly concerned about plans for development at the north of the town which she believed must be part of Downlands Farm.
Cllr Newton said there was a plan in many years ago for Downlands Farm and she was not sure of its status now, but she would look into that for Cllr Firth. She said she did know of a plan further north for 39 homes.
The request for a screening opinion, number WD/2020/6507/SO can be found on the Wealden website.
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