Decision due on changes to major Hailsham development

Amended layout of the proposed development
Amended layout of the proposed development

Amended proposals for a major housing development near Hailsham are to go before Wealden planners next week.

On Thursday (July 18), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south are to consider an amended application to build 169 homes at the Oaklands site off of Ersham Road.

While efforts to develop the site have a long (and sometimes controversial) history, Wealden planners have already granted both full and outline planning permission to build up to 167 homes.

The same meeting will discuss two other applications, one for 400 homes at Ersham Park and Cuckoo Fields and another for 220 dwellings north of Mill Road.

According to a report to the planning committee, officers consider the additional two houses to be a ‘minor variation’ and are recommending the full application be approved. 

In the report, a Wealden planning spokesman said: “Whilst the development is contrary to the current local plan the extant permission, lack of five-year housing land supply and inclusion of the site within the development boundary in the emerging plan, combine to create material reasons to approve the development.

“There are no materially greater impacts to the wider character of the area, local highway network or residential amenities compared to the extant permission. 

“Based on this, it is recommended permission be granted subject to conditions and legal agreement to secure affordable housing and the air quality mitigation for the additional two  units.”

As a result of the two extra homes within the wider scheme, the number of affordable homes is set to rise from 57 to 59.

According to planning documents, the proposals would be a mix of 110 market dwellings and 59 affordable units, with around half of these affordable units to be either two- or three-bedroom houses.  The site will also contain 349 parking spaces.

In a design and access statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for the developer said: “The proposal will bring about an attractive scheme that delivers quality new housing in Hailsham with an improved public footpath link and attractive open space and play areas.

“Accessible housing, much needed affordable housing to meet local needs and the provision of bungalows as part of the overall housing offer are all benefits of the scheme that are consistent with the extant permission and reserved matters approval at the site.”

The application has prompted some criticism from residents, although at a lower level than some previous applications.

Planners received 28 letters of objection to the scheme, raising a number of concerns including; loss of green space, pressure on infrastructure and harm to wildlife, among others.

Objectors also raised concerns on highways grounds, particularly at the junction of Coldthorn Lane and Ersham Road.

Official objections, meanwhile, have been raised by WDC Drainage and East Sussex County Council, principally over a ‘lack of information’ over the surface flooding risk at the site and mitigation measures. 

Planning officers, however, say these concerns were also present as part of the scheme which has already been approved and would be covered by conditions.

For further details of the application see reference WD/2018/2543/MAJ on the Wealden District Council planning website.