‘We are still in there fighting’ - campaign

Ersham Farm development campaigners.
Ersham Farm development campaigners.

PEOPLE power persuaded the district authority to backtrack making a decision to allow 35 homes on historical farmland in Hailsham.

That is the belief of residents fronting the ‘Save Ersham Farm Campaign’ following an agreement by the planning committee south at Wealden District Council to defer making a decision as to whether planning consent should be granted.

Last week the Sussex Express, the county’s 175-year-old newspaper, reported that residents were outraged at plans by WE Vine Trust to install the development at Ersham Farm on Ersham Road.

Planners deferred the decision in order to review ‘sustainability’ issues and a more comprehensive survey of the pond, despite a planning officer’s recommendation for approval, at the meeting held on Thursday last week, July 19, say campaigners. Some 60 residents turned up at the meeting to vent their anger.

Afterwards, Ross Hollister, a lead campaigner, called it ‘a great result’, and told fellow residents, ‘We’re still in there fighting’.

Mr Hollister: “The number of local people who turned out to make their views known was tremendous.

“It clearly made a big impression on the meeting.

“We brought things to the attention of the meeting that they were otherwise not aware of, such as the value that Ersham Farm producing local food has to our community.

“It was great that some members could speak out for common sense.

“I hope even more people will be able to come along to the next [planning committee south] meeting on August 16 in Hailsham.”

Residents in the locality have also been concerned about plans by Masma Ltd to build a residential development including a doctor’s surgey at Oaklands.

This 5.6 hectare site on the junction between Ersham Road and Coldthorn Lane would involve 195 new dwellings with access arrangements and recreation areas.

Ross Hollister said the Wealden planning officer was recommending refusal for the application.

In a message to his fellow residents, he added: “That’s good but we’ll still need to play our part and turn up to ensure the right result at the August 16 meeting.”

What do you think? Email: sussex.express@sussexnewspapers.co.uk with your full name and address.