Westham housing plan is turned down after appeal

SUS-140309-160254001
SUS-140309-160254001

Westham residents are celebrating after a planning inspector turned down an appeal to build 18 homes on land at Peelings Lane.

The decision was made on January 12 following an appeal by developer Trinity Homes.

The firm outlined plans for 18 new homes back in January 2014 and residents started to campaign against the development.

In September, Wealden Planning Committee refused the housing development but Trinity Homes appealed against the decision.

The planning inspector agreed with councillors and turned down the appeal this week.

Planning inspector, David Prentis, said he agreed with the concerns of the residents about the loss of countryside.

In the appeal report, he said, “The appeal scheme would result in a loss of the landscape character of the appeal site through the introduction of roads and housing in what is currently an open field.

“To my mind it would also have a wider visual impact, particularly as seen from Peelings Lane and from the public footpath which crosses the western end of the site.

“The new houses would be to the north of the existing visual edge formed by Peelings Lane, extending the built up area into a currently undeveloped tract of countryside.”

Residents were also concerned about over-development in the area.

Mr Prentis addressed their concerns and said, “The appellant draws attention to the recent development at Ketcham Close which is said to have been permitted under the same policies as those applying to this appeal.

“However, I do not consider that the two schemes are comparable.

“The appeal scheme covers a larger area and extends considerably further from Peelings Lane.”

He added, “Whilst I have no reason to doubt the council’s assessment of the need for affordable housing, I also understand the concerns of local residents on this point.

“It seems to me that any local need for affordable housing will also be part of the district wide need and that there must therefore be potential for at least some of that need to be met at the strategic sites.”

Residents are delighted with the planning inspector’s decision’.

Joy Roscoe,a member of Westham Village Conservation Group, which was set up to protect the green spaces in the village, described the decision as a victory for residents.

She said, “After many months and demonstrations to seek justice to respect the conservation in our area, it gives us great pleasure to announce that we have today received notice that the appeal decision was published this morning as a refusal for Trinity Homes to build on green land.

“This is a great victory to all who live and respect rural village environment.

“We say it is power to the people.”