Houses at Orchid Riding Centre in Crowborough

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On Thursday (10th November), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee North approved a reserved matters application connected to plans to build 150 homes at the Orchid Riding Centre site, off of Walshes Road.

The scheme was granted outline planning permission in October 2021, meaning the principle of building out the site had already been approved. Essentially, this means the committee had been asked to sign off on details of the scheme’s layout and design. 

The decision to approve came despite some concerns around elements of the final design.  Among those to raise concerns was Crowborough Councillor Kay Moss (Ind), who argued a smaller number of houses would have been more appropriate.

One of the things that could be classed as overdevelopment, if it is deficient, is garden space. By the developers’ own admission, there are a number of gardens that are deficient on this site. Therefore I think it could be classed as overdevelopment.

Cllr Moss

Concerns were also raised about whether the developer’s drainage arrangements would be sufficient to prevent flooding and whether local sewage infrastructure could cope with further housing.

With no objections from Southern Water, however, the Committee would not be able to withhold permission on these grounds, as doing so would risk an ‘unreasonable behaviour’ finding at appeal. 

In light of this some argued the scheme should be deferred so further details could be brought in front of the Committee.

Ultimately, however, the Committee voted (eight to four) in favour of the application, meaning the scheme can move ahead to construction. 

In proposing approval, Cllr Susan Stedman (Con) said:

I’m content that all the questions that have been asked are answered to the degree that our officers feel happy to go ahead without further problems. 

Obviously it would be good to hear the answer about the further downflow of the sewage, but other than that I think this is a very good scheme and I would be happy to put it forward for approval.

Cllr Stedman

For further details see Wealden District Council’s website (Ref: WD/2022/0775/MRM).

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