Update: This application for 33 houses has been refused by planning officers under delegated powers.
The officers report explains 245 objections were received. There were numerous planning reasons cited for refusal including the following: the site lies outside any development boundary, the unsustainable location, access is via a narrow country lane with no footpaths and the application makes insufficient provision for affordable housing. The applicant has the right to appeal the decision with the Planning Inspectorate.
(On 10th Nov 2022: The application for four houses was refused by Planning Committee North).
An outline planning application has been submitted to build 33 detached houses on agricultural land between Alice Bright Lane and High Broom Road.
The applicant wants to build a mixture of three and four-bedroom houses on land adjacent to Orchard Cottage. It is proposed that access will be via a new junction on Alice Bright Lane. Seventy-nine car parking spaces would be provided and two spaces for cycles per property.
The scheme as proposed will only include three affordable houses. In order to comply with Wealden’s Affordable Housing Delivery Plan, the development should provide 12 affordable housing units, or in exceptional circumstances a payment may be accepted to fund the construction of affordable housing elsewhere. The Council housing department also recommend the housing mix should provide some one and two bed homes to meet the demand for smaller properties.
As a Statutory Consultee, Crowborough Town Council discussed the application last night (Monday 18th). Three local residents spoke about how they thought the rural site was unsuitable for development. They mentioned building on the site would exasperate existing flood risks, they spoke about how the development would dramatically increase traffic and they expressed concern for safety of people walking along Alice Bright Lane to access amenities.
All of the five Councillors present then raised a catalogue of points criticising the application, reiterating some of the points already made by the public. Saved policies from the Wealden Local Plan 1998 resist residential development outside a development boundary (GD2 and DC17) and policies EN1 and EN2 promote sustainable and accessible development.
Cllr Ron Reed started, by picking-up on the Transport Statement, which states there is a seven minute walk to the nearest bus stop at the bottom of Whitehill Road. He questioned the safety of walking along a road with no pavement, no lights and a bend in it. Cllr Martyn Garrett said he used to run along Alice Bright Lane in the 1980s. He said “he wouldn’t dare do it now, because of the speed of the traffic”. Cllr Alan Penney said the application lacked detail and the application was an “overdevelopment of the site”. Cllr George Moss highlighted that the site was outside the planning development boundary and he thought the swept path drawing (showing how bin lorries would access the development) was “stretching the truth”. He believed the application was a “financial punt to see what they can get away with”. The Committee’s Chair, Cllr Richard Jury, said it was a “car dependent development” and the journey times to access public transport were “farcical”.
In conclusion, Cllr Jury said it was the “wrong development in the wrong place”. The Planning & Development Committee voted unanimously (5-0) to recommend refusal. The application will be determined by the local planning authority (Wealden District Council) in due course.
You can see the documents submitted with the application by clicking on the following reference (WD/2021/0992/MAO). The deadline for comments to be submitted to the planning authority is 12th August.
There is a separate application by Asprey Homes for four detached houses at the other end of Alice Bright Lane (WD/2022/1639/F).