New Polegate homes narrowly approved

Proposals for a small housing development in Polegate have been approved by Wealden planners.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 3:43 pm

On Wednesday (January 12), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee North gave the go-ahead to proposals to build two new homes in the garden of a property known as Clareholme in Dittons Road.

The application follows on from a previous version of the proposals (for three new houses rather than two), which was refused by planners in June last year as ‘an unacceptable form of backland development’. This decision is subject to an appeal process, which has yet to be determined. 

As with the previous scheme, the scheme saw objections raised by ward councillor Angela Snell (Con, Polegate Central), who argued the development would have an unacceptable impact on the surrounding area. 

Proposed layout of the two new homes in Dittons Road, Polegate

She said: “I believe this can be classified as overdevelopment and it isn’t compatible with the existing street scene. The two new houses proposed are four bedroom and will be on the site in addition to the existing property. 

“The proposed access is on to Dittons Road, which may be classified as a B road but does experience heavy traffic flow. This is because of the development that has taken place in the area. 

“This area has seen a very large amount of development in recent years, including new residential properties and light industry. We have two industrial estates which feed into Dittons Road.”

Cllr Snell went on to raise concerns about the impact on neighbours, particularly in terms of privacy.

She also raised concerns around the safety of Dittons Road, which she described as ‘very dangerous’, as well as the access arrangements planned for the new homes. This concern was shared by several committee members. 

Officers cautioned the committee against using this as a basis for refusal, however, both because no objections had been raised by East Sussex Highways and because it had not formed part of the reasons for refusing the previous scheme.

Concerns were also raised about making a decision before the appeal on the previous proposals were resolved. This due to concerns an approval could lend support to the appellant’s case.

However, officers cautioned against deferring the revised proposals, as this could open the council to costs for unreasonable behaviour. 

While several committee members took objection to the proposals over the level of development and impact, others did not share the view that the scheme should be refused.

These committee members felt the revised design would have a limited impact on surrounding properties, which could not be considered as ‘unacceptable’. 

Philip Lunn (Con, Crowborough South East) said: “Looking at this and considering what is before me today —and looking at nothing else — to me the scheme looks entirely reasonable.

“I have listened to what the officers have said about the distances between the houses behind, the positioning to these [and] I would find it very difficult in my opinion to refuse this.”

Following further debate the committee voted on whether to approve the proposals.

The vote was tied, leading to the committee chairman Susan Stedman (Con, Horam & Punnetts Town) using her casting vote to approve the application.

For further information on the proposals see application reference WD/2021/2531/F on the Wealden District Council website.