75-home development is given the go-ahead

Proposals for a major housing development in Stone Cross have been given the go-ahead by Wealden planners.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 2:45 pm
An artist's impression of the development

On Thursday (October 8), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south approved a reserved matters application to build 75 homes on land south of Dittons Road – a site which was granted outline planning permission last year. 

As a reserved matters application, the principal of development had already been agreed, with the committee only deciding on the remaining details.

While approved, several committee members raised concerns over the proposed designs of the buildings, arguing that the materials used may be too dark and may date too quickly. 

Committee chairman Susan Stedman said, “I don’t mind the materials that much, but I feel they will date very quickly in the way those very 80s properties with dark-stained brown windows [did].

“I think we must be very careful not to enter into design by committee, but I feel all that dark charcoal and black could become quite oppressive in the long run.”

Similar views were raised by Cllr Johann Howell, who said “We had a discussion recently … where we felt a lot of the designs coming forward were generic across the country and not pertinent to our particular areas.

“A lot of this stuff that is coming in and being plonked in our area is actually not in keeping with the area. It could be anywhere in the country and doesn’t maintain the feel of where we live.”

In response to similar comments from other committee members, planning officers said the conditions on the approval could be used to ensure developers use alternative materials.  

Westham Parish Council had also criticised the building’s design, as part of its overall objection to the proposals.

In a submission to planners, a spokesman for the parish council said, “The supplementary planning statement states that that the design and layout has been done in consultation with … Wealden District Council, yet flies in the face of almost every principal in Wealden’s own planning guide.

“The layout is totally unimaginative with houses in lines around the road. The houses themselves resemble a child’s drawing of a house – a block with windows.

“There is nothing to relieve the monotony of the whole estate and its unsuitable external finishes that should be thrown back at the designers for a complete rethink.”

The parish council – as well as several local residents –  had also raised concerns about the access arrangements via Dittons Road and the potential impact on traffic there. 

The scheme will provide a 35 per cent affordable housing mix, meaning 27 affordable homes would be provided on site. 

For further details, see application reference WD/2020/0789/MRM on the Wealden District Council planning website.