High Court judge rejects housing development at Steel Cross


Today Wealden District Council won its legal fight in the High Court to stop a developer building in the High Weald.

Steel-Cross-CrowboroughKnight Developments Ltd wanted to build on land between Palesgate Lane and the Rugby Club.

In her judgement today Mrs Justice Lang said that fumes from additional cars would have a detrimental effect on the Ashdown Forest.  She also felt the Government’s own Planning Inspector hadn’t adequately assessed whether other more suitable sites were available for housing.

The planning battle began in 2013, when Knight Developments submitted their planning application to Wealden District Council.  Councillors on the Planning Committee refused the application primarily because it would encroach into open countryside, but also because of concerns about access to the site from Green Lane for cars.  But Knight Developments used their prerogative to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, an executive agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government.  Planning Inspector David Nicholson was persuaded to overturned Wealden District Council’s decision.

Warren Saville is one of the local residents who has been campaigning against the development over the last couple of years.  His wife Louise spoke at the appeal hearing held at Hendall Manor Barns:

Today is a good day, it’s been a long three-year battle..

We are delighted that the High Court has overturned the Planning Inspectorate decision to allow Knight Developments to destroy our countryside with their 103 homes development.  You see it wasn’t a waste of time!!! as was printed in The Courier a couple of weeks back.

At this stage I don’t know if there are any other avenues that the developers can pursue, so we will wait and see before we get the champagne out of the fridge.

Can I also thank everyone that supported this important cause with their letters and time.  You see some things are still worth fighting for!!

You can download the full judgement here: Wealden DC v Secretary of State.

CrowboroughLife will bring you more reaction from local residents, Wealden District Council, the developer and their agents.

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  1. One has to be pragmatic on each planning application but, we should not carry on building more and more homes where that encroaches on open countryside. Well done WDC!

  2. What a bad day for anyone without their own house. The lack of supply is forcing housing up. This development was due to have many low cost houses and incorporate a new Country Park. I bet all the Nimbys that blocked this, own their houses that were built on countryside once, perhaps they would volunteer to turn their houses back to countryside. Or are they just selfish gits that have property but do not want anyone else to have a house in the vicinity, like they have. WDC need to grow some balls. Once again, the loud minority over rule the silent majority.

  3. I agree with LB. This would have been an ideal area to build this estate. It is at least three miles away from Ashdown Forest, both Pine Grove and Jarvis Brook sites are closer, so the extra traffic fumes argument does not hold water. This site is on disused farmland bordered by existing housing and rugby club and golf course (both largely now built on what was once farmland). The site has immediate access to the main A26 so will not even necessarily increase traffic levels on any of Crowborough’s local roads. Both Beacon Community College sites are well within walking distance, again reducing the need to create extra traffic for the ‘school run’ . What a missed opportunity this is! Most of the objectors that have been seen in photographs live in what were once farm buildings, now converted into housing, on what was Steel Cross Farm. Talk about NIMBYs….. and the pot calling the kettle black.

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