A proposed housing scheme on a narrow lane near Heathfield has drawn a furious response from the village.
The ASP Planning and Development Consultancy has lodged plans to build 26 new homes on 0.7 hectares of land at Dads Hill, Cross-in- Hand with access onto the lane itself.
But the scheme has drawn more than 70 letters of objection and the parish council recommends refusal saying it’s unacceptable in the AONB, sits on a greenfield site and road junctions cannot absorb extra traffic.
Dads Hill is a twisting lane which connects the B2102 Heathfield to Lewes road with the A265 to Tunbridge Wells and is used as a rat run for drivers wanting to avoid the Cross-in-Hand rush hour log jam.
At a pre-application meeting with council planners, developers highlighted Wealden’s Core Strategy where Cross-in-Hand was earmarked as being ‘able to accommodate in the region of 25 dwellings’ and say it confirmed ‘the principle of the development is acceptable.’ They cite local bus stops, shops, schools and say the scheme wil support the local economy by providing market and affordable homes for local people and jobs during the building stage.
But the scheme unleashed a volley of objections, most concerned about the potential danger of unleashing vehicles from 26 homes onto a country lane with no footpaths or pavements. They fear emergency vehicles would completely block the lane to all other traffic and children would have to walk along a busy road to get to any recreational space.
They were also concerned about surface water disposal, an inadequate ecological report, poor infrastructure and the lane being too narrow for two cars to pass comfortably.
A resident of Dads Hill who has lived there for 47 years is horrified, saying he has a right of way through the middle of the application, stated on his title deeds. He also says the former landowner, Peter Newnham (son of the town miller and a Parish Council chairman for many years) ‘promised me and my wife ‘the part of green England will never be built on.’
A spokesman for the Cross-in Hand Amenities Society points out only five residents received a letter telling them about the application and the planning notice was displayed just days before the parish council’s planning meeting, giving people little time to respond. The letter also describes the site as being just yards from the Grade II listed Cross-in-Hand mill, described as being ‘the most important unrestored windmill in the country’ and dubbed a ‘landmark building’ by the council.
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