POLEGATE: Joy after homes plan is refused

The earmarked area is shown in red
The earmarked area is shown in red

POLEGATE residents and councillors are celebrating after an appeal to build more than 500 homes in the town was refused by a planning inspector.

The appeal was made by Pelham Holdings against Wealden District Council’s decision to refuse permission for 520 dwellings to be built on land at Honey Farm, Polegate.

The inquiry was held at the Boship Farm Hotel in Lower Dicker in January and inspector Robert Mellor released his decision on Wednesday (May 18) which refused the appeal.

Residents and councillors had previously argued the development would not be an extension of Polegate but would instead be an ‘urban island’ which would be isolated from the main town and its amenities.

There were also concerns about an increase in traffic on the A22 and A27, and extra strain on the waste and water systems and an objection from the National Park Authority.

Pelham Holdings argued there was a need for the housing in the area but the inspector was not convinced.

In a letter, Maria Stasiak, a decision officer for the communities and local government department, wrote, “Overall the Secretary of State considers that there are no material considerations of sufficient weight to overcome the conflict with the development plan, and that planning permission should therefore be refused.”

East Sussex county councillor Stephen Shing described the decision as a ‘victory’ for local residents and added, “The result is encouraging and it demonstrates that residents views have been taken in to account.”

Cllr Tim Voyce, mayor of Polegate, said, “This is a fantastic result and a victory for the ‘little people’.

“Polegate Town Council has worked tirelessly since the time of the application to ensure a development of this size did not go ahead in such an inappropriate location.

“Angry residents joined in the fight and showed their opposition by writing letters of objection and attending public meetings in their hundreds.”

“Having successfully fought off this development, future generations will now be able to enjoy the village community spirit of which we are so proud.”

A website had been set up by some residents to monitor the appeal, www.stop-honey-farm.co.uk