Wealden councillors are being recommended to give outline planning permission, with conditions, for 1,000 new homes to be built at Ridgewood Farm, Uckfield.
A report to Wealden’s planning committee north, which meets on Thursday, June 11, says the proposed development is “sustainable” and “no significant or demonstrable harm” arising from it has been identified through an environmental impact assessment.
East Sussex Highways Authority though, argues that Uckfield town centre is not able to support the scheme and says it would become “unsustainable”. There’s more about the highways department view here: Uckfield town centre ‘not able to support’ Ridgewood Farm development.
Southern Water Services raises concern about the potential impact of odour from its sewage and sludge treatment works next to the site.
Uckfield Town Council is described as having “no objection” to the scheme while resolving “not to support the application”.
The report to planning committee north says: “Whilst the town council have not formally objected to the application a number of concerns have been raised …” and goes on to respond to those concerns which include the A22 needing improvements to cope with additional traffic, the need for an alternative access road to the SANGS, the amount of affordable housing and wider infrastructure issues, health, education and recreation.
The report says the application is seeking to establish the principle of development on the site and means of access, with all details of appearance, scale, layout and landscaping left for later applications.
In addition to 1,000 homes the plan include a one-form or two-form entry primary school and early years facilities, retail, community, health, leisure and up to 13,495 square metres of employment uses.
There would be new and enhanced pedestrian/cycle routes and open spaces, car parking (including replacement provision for existing lay-bys to be removed from the A22) and vehicular access, the creation of a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS), demolition of existing buildings, car parking and access on land west of the A22.
Fifty-two letters of objection were received by Wealden from local residents. They included concerns relating to the location of the SANGS and its car park, lack of infrastructure to serve the development, unacceptable increase in traffic generated, lack of a dedicated cycleway through the town and inadequate parking provision within the town.
A summary of the proposals says the main site occupies about 82 hectares of farmland between the western edge of Uckfield, the A22, the back of properties along New Town and the Lewes Road.
The northern edge of the site follows the line of the disused former railway line between Uckfield, Lewes and Brighton. It also shares a boundary with the Uckfield sewage treatment works.
The eastern edge of the site shares a boundary with several existing homes and properties, the Victoria Pleasure Grounds and Boothland Wood.
Another part of the site, about 29 hectares, is on the west side of the A22, currently connected to the main site area via an existing cattle underpass.
In concluding a recommendation for approval of the outline application the officers’ report to Wealden planning committee north says that, subject to the imposition of conditions and the completion of a S106 agreement to secure necessary and justifiable infrastructure works, contributions and affordable housing as recommended,there are no other material considerations other than to justify recommending approval.
The full report to Wealden’s planning committee north can be seen here.
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