Another housing development in Hailsham area permitted

Proposals for a housing development near Hailsham have been given the go ahead by Wealden planners. 

Monday, 1st March 2021, 12:04 pm

On Thursday (February 25), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south granted outline approval for the construction of 45 homes on land to the south of the A271 in Amberstone.

While eventually approved, some committee members called for the application to be deferred due to concerns around its impact on local infrastructure – particularly the road network and sewage system – when combined with other nearby developments. 

Among those to raise concerns was Cllr Gavin Blake-Coggins (Lib Dem), who said: “Opposite this proposed site there are three major developments currently under construction. 

“There are still loads of empty houses [on those sites], so this is just going to add more empty properties on the chance, maybe or maybe not, they will get sold. 

“The road infrastructure is insufficient as it is, as is the infrastructure within the town centre of Hailsham itself.”

Similar views were raised by Cllr Bob Bowdler, who said: “I don’t feel comfortable with the [East Sussex] Highways decision that they don’t have a problem with it. 

“I have a problem with it, because I think there is the potential for a serious accident there, with the amount of traffic and the number of exits at that particular point [on the A271].”

He added: “I also have concerns about the drainage. Southern Water have been reluctant to come to Wealden and explain why they are tanking sewerage from north to south and south to north constantly.

“It is not acceptable and they don’t have a plan for the future.”

In light of these concerns it was argued that the decision should be deferred until more details of mitigation works were received from both East Sussex Highways and Southern Water. 

While similar views were raised by other committee members, planning officers argued these organisations had both been consulted and neither had raised any technical objections.

This arguments were picked up by Cllr Johanna Howell (Con) who put forward a proposal to grant outline planning permission in line with the officers’ recommendation.

Cllr Howell said: “I feel everyone’s frustration, goodness knows how could you not. But as has been said so many times, Highways are the experts and sewage is the remit of Southern Water.

“If they as the legal providers have said this isn’t a problem and if we don’t build out we don’t get the CIL money to pay into these facilities, we are also lousing up to be frank with you.”

She added: “They are the statutory providers, sewerage and highways. They have told us that they will deliver. This is a legal requirement and therefore I can’t think of any really good reason that we can’t give this our approval.”

Cllr Howell said she made her proposal with ‘a heavy heart’ and asked for council officers to ensure developers followed conditions on the site.

Following further debate the application was approved with six votes in favour, three against and three abstaining.

According to planning documents, the s.106 agreement would include affordable housing provision, financial support for transport works as well as a financial contribution toward off-site youth and adult recreation space in Hailsham.

For further details of the proposals see application reference WD/2020/1690/MAO on the Wealden District Council website.