Proposed development could close cricket club

A planning application for nine new houses and two flats on this field in East Dean has been submitted. SUS-140409-091539001
A planning application for nine new houses and two flats on this field in East Dean has been submitted. SUS-140409-091539001
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An extraordinary meeting is being held by East Dean and Friston Parish Council after a planning application for nine new houses and two flats in Gilberts Drive was submitted.

The application was lodged with the South Downs National Park Authority and features plans to build nine houses, including four affordable social housing units, and two flats on the field between the Fridays and the cricket ground.

The Parish Council have called an extraordinary meeting at the Village Hall on Monday, September 15 at 6pm to give people in the village the opportunity to have their say on the proposed development.

The plans have not been welcomed by a handful of residents, including Geoff Johnson, who said, “Other people, like me, think it’s going to be an ugly blot on the landscape and completely spoil this corner of the village and down land.”

The planning application has also caused concern for those associated with East Dean and Friston Cricket Club. Simon Purkiss, chairman of the cricket club, said, “We believe if the proposed development goes ahead it will really affect our ability to play cricket in the future. The ball regularly goes into the area where they propose to build. Other clubs that have been in a similar situation have had to put netting up but that would be extremely expensive. We’re only a small club and putting up netting or fencing, or moving our square, would be beyond our meagre budget.

“Also, the land has Queen Elizabeth II status, one of the requirements of which is that principle use of the site must be for sport, play and/or recreation. If the cricket club is forced to stop playing there, it may affect the land’s status.”

The Chair of the Parish Council, Stewart Fuller, said, “The SDNP is the planning authority and will take the final decision. However, all planning applications within the village are considered by our council, as a statutory consultee, and its views must be taken into account by the SDNP. This application is for a change of use of agricultural land to provide 11 dwellings adjacent to the council-owned recreation ground. It would be a major development for our village if approved.

“The council wish to ensure that residents have every opportunity to comment before the planning authority makes its decision. We have therefore called a special council meeting for residents to express their views. Following this, the council will determine its submission to the SDNP.”