Oaklands scheme will now not go ahead

An appeal by developers over Wealden District Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a major housing development in Hailsham has been dismissed.

The decision by the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, was announced on June 19.

Hailsham town Mayor Councillor Jo Bentley attended the five-day appeal hearing held in February to put forward the views of the Town Council and local residents against development on the Oaklands site adjacent to Ersham Road, which is outside of the Wealden Development Framework for Hailsham and not in accordance with the newly adopted Core Strategy Local Plan.

The residential development proposal was considered unsuitable on the Oaklands site due to lack of infrastructure support and the effects it would have on biodiversity and wildlife in the area.

The planning application was also refused on the grounds that the proposed development would, due to the necessary highway works needed, result in significant harm to the character and appearance of the area. Additionally, valuable land on the strategic gap between Hailsham and Polegate would be lost and the impact of additional traffic on Ersham Road would be detrimental to the local area.

There were further concerns regarding waste water treatment works in south Hailsham that would not have the capacity to support a development of this size.

Town Mayor Jo Bentley was pleased to receive news of the outcome of this appeal. She said: “I’m delighted to hear that the Secretary of State has agreed with the Planning Inspector’s decision to refuse permission for the Oaklands development.”

“We are always keen to ensure that any major development plans for our town are not only easily accessible to the public but clearly debated.”

“I would like to thank all residents who gave their support throughout the planning and appeal process, for their hard work in fighting for the campaign.”