THE proposed development of 35 residential dwellings on the Ersham Farm site would have a significant negative impact on the local community. The proposal is to build a small number of residential homes where existing farm buildings (representing the farm’s infrastructure) are located. If the development goes forward, Ersham farm which is owned by the WE Vine Trust, will no longer be a working farm.
Recent government guidelines direct planning committees to give due consideration to the sustainability of developments when considering whether or not to approve them. This directive applies regardless of whether or not the proposed development lies within a development area.
We fail to see how any rational thinking person could view the loss of a working farm, that provides employment and educational opportunities, as in any way sustainable.
At the recent planning committee meeting, a number of councillors expressed their concerns on this issue which, resulted in the application being deferred pending the production of a sustainability report.
The committee did not reject the application nor did they pass it, voting instead for the aforementioned deferral. What astonished us was that the primary reason for not rejecting the application appeared to be the reluctance by councillors to create the grounds for an appeal by the developer. What exactly is wrong with following due process even if this results in an appeal. The entire Hailsham town council and the Mayor oppose this development as do a significant number of Hailsham residents.
This is not nimbyism, this is an attempt to stop the loss of a working farm on grounds that should be obvious.
The other concern we have arises as we (perhaps naively) assumed that the planning department would present an impartial and unbiased application, as drawn up by the developer and let the committee determine the outcome. We found that during the deliberations of the planning committee it was difficult to distinguish between the planning department’s presentation/arguments and that of the developer.
As already stated, the development of 1.7 hectares will eliminate the farm’s supporting infrastructure and the farm will no longer be a working farm. This begs the question as to what happens to the remaining 60 hectares? We do not feel that a crystal ball or ESP is required to answer that question. And when this remaining land becomes the target of the developer’s then what impact will this have on the hundreds of visitors and locals that use the adjacent Cuckoo Trail? Question – walk through beautiful farmland or a residential estate? A no brainer we think.
Kevin J Gannon, Carole A Gannon, Hailsham