Alfriston may see more jobs and housing

Waterloo Square, Alfriston
Waterloo Square, Alfriston

Alfriston has been identified as having “potential for development” by the South Downs National Park Authority.

The SDNPA has unveiled a “hierarchy” of centres in its draft Local Plan where differing levels of town centre development will be allowed.

Alfriston is on a list of smaller village centres along with Ditchling locally while at the top of the list are the markets towns of Lewes and Petworth.

The draft policy for such a hierarchy stipulates development proposals would be supported where they kept local markets including farmers’ markets as well as independent retailers, particularly those linked to supply chains across the national park.

It recognised that potential for development in the market town centres was ‘highly constrained’ because all contained large numbers of listed buildings and “an already tightly packed street scene”.

It also mentions significant affordable housing, employment opportunities and the building of more holiday accommodation.

Under normal rules such massive development would not be considered in the national park, but officers are making an “exceptional circumstance” case through the early drafts of a Local Plan hoping to demonstrate the development of the sites is in the public interest.

A Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment 2014 by the park authority previously found that land at West Street in Alfriston would not be suitable and development on the site would have a potential adverse impact on the character and appearance of the landscape.

That was despite opinions that it would be achievable as long as there would be a safe access on West Street could be and that the owner of the land said it would be available immediately.

But a former allotment site in the village does have potential, according to the blueprint.

The site is on the eastern edge of the village of Alfriston, within the existing development boundary, is wholly within the Alfriston Conservation Area and is adjacent to a Grade II listed building.

The two different owners of the site have said it would be available and park planners say that it is considered appropriate to limit development to the south of the site, where there are existing agricultural buildings.

Elsewhere Berwick Court Farm on Alfriston Road was excluded for any development potential as were three sites in the village of East Dean.

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