Fight to save Hailsham site from housing

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Residents fighting plans for 195 homes on a greenfield site in Hailsham are calling for support at a hearing before a planning inspector on Thursday.

Developer MASMA appealed to the Government after an application for Oaklands, on either side of Coldthorne Lane, Ersham Road, was refused by Wealden District Council.

Four days of evidence was given and the hearing was then adjourned, with the final day being held at the Boship Lions Hotel, Lower Dicker, on Thursday March 7 at 9.30am.

Campaigners said the four day hearing was held at Easons Green, several miles from Hailsham.

Many people did not know about it and the location was so remote it prevented residents who did know from going. They said thanks to Hailsham Mayor, Jo Bentley, the councillor for Hailsham South and West, the meeting was adjourned for a further day.

The venue was much nearer to Hailsham, which would allow more residents to attend, and they were now hoping for a large contingent from Hailsham on Thursday.

Concerned local resident Ross Hollister said: “This is our one final chance to make our point that we do not want another housing estate built to the south of Hailsham.

“Hailsham is already being extended with housing development to the north, east, and west.

“Development is necessary, but it has been decided locally where this would be best.

“MASMA are seeking to override sensible local planning decisions and build 200 houses in the middle of our countryside.

“It has to stop.”

Campaigners feel a successful appeal would bring the inevitable planning application from MASMA to develop the remainder of Ersham Farm, so further closing the green gap between Hailsham and Polegate.

The site was also prone to regular flooding.

There would be a significant increase in the amount of traffic using the already busy Ersham Road.

MASMA successfully applied to build 35 homes at Ersham Farm, Hailsham, last summer, close to the proposed Oaklands site.

Wealden District Council has, however, on two occasions refused the appeal application.

This was because the site is outside the permitted development boundary, and not part of the Town Plan or Core Strategy.