Update (Aug 2014): Knight Developments have now appealed the decision on the grounds the development would help meet the need for local housing, the development would not detract from the surrounding landscape, including the AONB and the recreation area would protect the Ashdown Forest.
The developers argue Wealden’s Local Plan does not meet the full need market and affordable housing in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. The also say satisfactory access to the site for vehicles can be achieved.
You can read the full Grounds for Appeal here: WD-2013-2410-MEA_Appeal Statements of Case_13.2410 Statement of case.
The appeal will be heard by an Independant Planning Inspector for up to 11 days from 10th March 2015. The inquiry will be held at Hendall Manor Barns in Heron’s Ghyll.
Original article (Feb 2014): Councillors today rejected a planning application to build over 100 homes in the High Weald Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.
Knight Developments in Essex wanted to build 103 houses including 42 affordable homes at Steel Cross, on land between Palesgate Lane and the Rugby Club. Access to the 40 acre site would have been be via a new roundabout on Green Lane.
Councillors refused the application primarily because of damage to the natural environment, although concerns were also expressed about traffic and the lack of sustainable transport. Steel Cross is outside the Council’s development boundary, is within the High Weald AONB and lies within the 7km Ashdown Forest special protection area. In order to protect the rare heathland, developers are required to provide a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG). The housing development at Steel Cross would have included considerable areas of open space, designed to reduce trips to the Forest.
When Crowborough Town Council discussed the proposal in December, town councillors thought the site had significant benefits over areas designated in Wealden’s Local Plan, and included potential for an alternate road connecting the A26 to Jarvis Brook.
Wealden District Council’s Local Plan allows for 140 new homes to be built in the town at Pine Grove and Jarvis Brook. It also allows for 160 new homes to be built, as an extension to the town, around Western Road and Walshes Road.
For more information see the Committee Report.