Decision due for pub homes plan

The Royal Oak pub, in Ditchling
The Royal Oak pub, in Ditchling

A planning application to knock down a pub and build seven houses has been recommended for approval.

An application to demolish the historic Royal Oak pub on Ditchling Road was originally submitted to Lewes District Council in October last year, with plans to build 12 dwellings on the site.

That was later withdrawn but a revised application seeking permission for seven homes – five four-bedroom and two three-bedroom – was then submitted in October.

At a meeting of Lewes District Council’s planning applications committee on March 16, the application was recommended for approval by the planning officer.

The report states: “The site is a brownfield site, the type where Government has announced they would prefer new development to be directed towards. It is a site that is becoming unkempt and an unattractive feature in this prominent roadside location. Redevelopment of the site does, therefore, open up an opportunity to secure visual improvements.

“While the loss of the public house, a community facility is regretted, the applications have demonstrated that it is no longer a viable use and it is unlikely that an alternative community use will ever reoccupy the site.

“The proposed scheme is considered to represent a sensitive development that is appropriate to the rural setting of the site.

“Along with the general benefit of bringing the site back into use, this scheme also secures the provision of two much-needed affordable units, as well as adding to the district’s housing stock.”

Concerns were previously expressed about the location of the proposed homes being on a sharp bend in the B2112, which has an on-going history of crashes and drivers losing control. However, the planning officer believes the scheme may help reduce the number of incidents on the road as a lower speed limit will be in place in the locality.

The planning application also includes the building of a shared access road to serve the new properties, and associated landscaping.

While the application was recommended for approval by Ditchling Parish Council, a number of residents raised objections to the plans for reasons including the dangerous location, increased pressure on local services and the loss of historic elements of the pub, such as Jacob’s Post.

A final decision will be made next week on April 6.

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