Residents of Castle Rise, Ridgewood, are protesting over a “staircase” link between their street and a new specialist dementia and nursing home for the elderly to be built in Highview Lane.
People have written to Wealden District Council objecting to a planning application which seeks to alter part of the design of the building which already has approval to be built on the cleared brownfield site where Ridgewood Rise care home once stood.
The development site adjoins Castle Rise but is above the residential street.
The “staircase” is not part of the revised application and was granted planning permission when the whole scheme was given the green light in May last year.
At that time, a report before Wealden said: “A new pedestrian access to the site off Castle Rise will provide improved links to bus services along Eastbourne Road.”
The planning permission cannot be re-opened because approval has been granted and is not part of the new application to make amendments.
Concerns raised by Uckfield Town Council
The current application is to seek a reduction in the size of the planned building’s second floor, along with other small changes. It aims to pull the building further away from neighbouring properties.
People’s concerns were raised at last week’s meeting of Uckfield Town Council plans committee by Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood, who lives in the area.
He admitted at the meeting, where he spoke from the public gallery, that the objections could well be too late.
Cllr Smith said it would be highly likely that the introduction of a stairway access for workers would lead to them parking in Castle Rise and Castle Way to use this access. This would cause congestion in these roads and be to the detriment of those living there.
Letters of objection
People in the area have written to Wealden District Council about the revised application, many focussing comments on the “staircase”.
One objector wrote to Wealden District Council, the planning authority, saying there did not appear to be sufficient car parking on the care home site for staff, visitors and deliveries and hoped there was no intention to use Castle Rise as an overspill.
“As the planning application now includes a proposed stairway and gate providing access to the site from Castle Rise, it would appear that staff and visitors may be encouraged to park their vehicles in Castle Rise,” the objector has told the district council.
‘Inadequate’ parking spaces
The town council’s plans committee also heard from Cllr Paul Meakin, Liberal Democrat, Central Ward, who said he spoke as a member of the public.
He said the proposed changes made the design look garish.
He was concerned that 21 parking spaces were inadequate for a 74-bedroom care home.
The narrow lane restricted access for dustcarts and emergency vehicles, he said, and residents had safety concerns.
Plans committee decision
The town council plans committee resolved to object to the minor material amendment due to the following concerns:
- The introduction of a stairway access would cause visitors to use Castle Rise and Castle Way as an unofficial car park.
- That the lane lacks the of capacity for emergency vehicles in an evacuation situation.
It also reiterated the previous objections to the original application on the following grounds.
- The relocation of the building in the amended plan introduces issues re neighbouring properties being overlooked/overshadowed.
The application should also be subject to the following conditions:
- Heavy good vehicles can only travel to and from the site during the hours of 9am and 6pm.
- That no demolition activity causing noise disturbance be carried out after 7pm.
- Developers contribute to the improvement and maintenance of High View Lane as this was in a poor condition.
* Wealden District Council will determine the application. The town council is a statutory consultee.