‘Disappointment and anger’ as work begins on 450 homes scheme

Shape of things to come ... a Computer Generated Image of homes at Chalker's Rise
Shape of things to come ... a Computer Generated Image of homes at Chalker's Rise

Controversial plans for a 450-home development in Peacehaven have led to two councils coming under attack.

At an extraordinary meeting, Peacehaven Town Council discussed its “unhappiness” over the go-ahead for the application at Lower Hoddern Farm.

Members felt Lewes District Council may have been put under pressure by the Government to push through the plans for the “affordable” homes – or face having its planning powers taken away.

The town council said in a statement: “Planning applications can only be determined by recognised planning rules.”

Councillors agreed to write to complain to both the district council and East Sussex County Council stating Peacehaven’s “disappointment and anger at the way the decision was taken and the total disregard of local residents’ views”.

The claims have been dismissed by Lewes District Council. A spokesman said: “The Lower Hoddern Farm planning application underwent the same rigorous evaluation and scrutiny that all proposals for major development are subject to. This included extensive public consultation, public meetings and a debate that received numerous contributions both for and against the development.

“Subsequently, councillors voted to support the plans for 143 new properties, including 55 affordable homes, and gave outline planning permission for a further 307 properties, including 125 affordable homes.

“The decision also unlocked £4 million to deliver a wide range of local transport and wider infrastructure improvements.”

Peacehaven Town Council members also felt the county council may have misled the district’s Planning Committee. Peacehaven councillors said: “Its report said ‘development was not expected to resolve existing traffic issues on the A259 but it could seek to ensure that the development results in nil detriment’. The developers’ transport assessment does not measure or apply to current A259 traffic volumes.

“Consequently, how could the county council assert the development would have a neutral effect upon current traffic flows?”

East Sussex County Council said up-to-date traffic data was presented to the Planning Committee by the applicant, who had obtained the information from the County Data team. It said the district council’s local plan allocates the Lower Hoddern Farm site for development and sets out policy requirements relating to improvements in public transport.

Meanwhile, work on the new homes site by Barratt Homes was last week given the green light to begin.

After Lewes District Council’s decision to grant planning permission for 450 new homes at Lower Hoddern Farm in April, subject to the completion of a legal agreement, groundworks will now begin over the coming weeks.

The development, which will be known as Chalker’s Rise, will see 143 homes built in the first phase of construction and Barratt is expecting to see the first residents ready to move in by early summer 2019.