Controversial development approved

Plans to build 650 new homes in Hailsham, East of Park Road and South of New Road, June 17th 2013 E25216P
Plans to build 650 new homes in Hailsham, East of Park Road and South of New Road, June 17th 2013 E25216P

Campaigners have been left disappointed after Wealden District Council agreed outline planning permission for 460 new homes in Hailsham.

The decision was made at a planning committee meeting held on Thursday (July 25) which gave permission for developer, The Fairfield Partnership, to build homes, a new primary school, and 300 metres of retail space on land south of New Road and east of Park Road in Hailsham.

The application is part of the Strategic Sites Local Plan which will see 4,525 homes built on land across the Wealden district to meet housing targets by 2027.

The application was originally for 650 homes but permission has been granted provided the developer limits itself to 460 residential units.

It has faced fierce oppostion from residents with a 1,000 strong petition by the North Hailsham and Hellingly Residents Union which was handed in to the council opposing the New Road plans.

The district council launched a public consultation into the plans which ended on Monday (July 29).

Last week the Express reported how the residents union called the consultation a ‘sham’ and said it ‘suppressed localism’ after councillors voted on the New Road proposal before the end of the public consultation.

The residents union penned a letter to the Secretary of State asking for the government to intervene. But it was refused on Friday (July 26).

At the meeting, councillors said although the outline proposal had been approved, it was subject to a set of conditions which were amended during the meeting.

These conditions include considering the representation from the public consultation.

At the meeting concerns were raised over primary school provision and the need for a new school.

Councillors made a condition that no development is commenced until the developer has entered into an agreement with East Sussex County Council for a fully serviced 2.3 hectare site for a primary school and early years education facilities.

It said no dwellings could be occupied until the school site had been transferred over to the county council.

Speaking two weeks ago, a spokesman for Wealden District Council said despite the consultation the application still had to be dealt with.

The statement said: “The priniciple of strategic housing and other growth in this area has already been approved by an Independent Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State following public examination.

“The representations made during the coming weeks will be subject to an examination in public by the Inspector. In the meantime planning applications still have to be dealth with.

“Failure by the council to deal with a major application within 13 weeks could see the application called in by the Secretary of State who has the power to make the decision himself.”