Decision due on major Willingdon housing development

Layout of 146 new Willingdon homes
Layout of 146 new Willingdon homes

Detailed plans for new Willingdon homes could be approved later this week.

Developers already have outline planning permission for 390 dwellings at Brodricklands and Hamlands Farm with access from St Martins Road and Dutchells Way.

Now reserved matters plans for phase one of the development, which sets out the detailed layout and design of the first 146 homes, are due to be discussed by Wealden District Council’s planning committee south on Thursday (August 15).

A total of 70 objections were received by the council during the first consultation period and 50 during the second.

They raised issues such as traffic congestion and road safety, parking, increased noise and disturbance, loss of green space, drainage and flooding, the size of the buffer zone, pollution, positioning of the affordable housing, loss of views and privacy, visual impact and pressure on infrastructure such as schools and health facilities.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd also wrote in to express his concerns.

He said: “The layout, landscaping, scale and appearance of phase one of the development does not make any positive contribution to the locality, appears to further coalesce Eastbourne and Willingdon and causes significant urban sprawl.

“The proposal is not in keeping with the local vernacular as suggested by the applicant, the style of housing is standard estate housing which could be said to be of no particular architectural merit or style and has little regard to the existing adjoining communities whether they be the part in Eastbourne or open plan and open aspect of the Hamlands estate most of which is in Willingdon and Wealden.

“The distribution, style and position of the dwellings proposed gives concern and the proportion of the three-storey dwellings seems high and out of keeping with existing adjacent estates.

“It is believed that the height, mass and position of some of the blocks as proposed will overdominate the landscape quite unlike the look of any building on the Hidsland estate.”

He went on to raise concerns relating to the buffer zone, the distribution of affordable housing and the fact that the estate roads are not designed for public transport.

Eastbourne Borough Council as the neighbouring authority to Wealden has maintained its objection to the site since outline permission was granted in 2016, where it raised concerns about insufficient access and highway capacity as well as wider infrastructure impacts needing to be understood and mitigated against.

Meanwhile Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council said it was disappointing no bungalows feature in phase one and preferred better distribution of affordable housing.

The parish council also pointed out that none of the seven hectares of open space amenity land across the entire development is included in the first phase and suggested the height, mass and positioning of some of the new blocks of housing would ‘overdominate the landscape’.

Polegate Parish Council has officially objected arguing that the roads in the area are ‘already gridlocked’ at peak times and busy at other times. Its submission described how the area did not have the infrastructure for this development and raised concerns about the impact on existing residents and pollution levels.

But according to the developer Barratt David Wilson Homes: “The external appearance of the proposed development is in keeping with the local vernacular. The design of the dwellings is traditional in form with simple roof forms, gables, hipped roofs and individual window and door styles to help create a high quality streetscene.”

An officer’s report said: “The council is satisfied that the proposed development would not be out of context with its existing environment.”