Homes scheme for Heathfield

Area behind Heathfield police station to be developed
Area behind Heathfield police station to be developed

Outline plans for a major housing scheme on nine acres at the back of Heathfield police station and next to the Millennium Green have been submitted to Wealden planners.

The scheme was first put forward at a public exhibition in the town’s community centre last November.

Since then developers say they’ve amended original plans to take account of feedback expressed by local people, including concerns about school spaces and capacity at doctors’ surgeries.

Spokesman for Uckfield-based Summertree Estates, Neil Harper said: “The proposal is now for 115 dwellings with 40 affordable homes, 35 per cent of the total.

“We’ve listened to people who say smaller homes are desperately needed in the town so many are just two and three bedroom, there are no large, five bedroom houses.”

Most of the site and much of Heathfield is in the AONB, the reason it was originally turned down by the District Council. But planners accepted the town’s need for affordable housing and asked for alternative and suitable sites to be put forward.

Neil, who lives in Fairwarp, said: “We believe Wealden searched for alternative sites last year but did not publish the results. We assume that has been put on hold.

“Our application increases the scope of the environmental statement with matters relating to the AONB robustly assessed by properly qualified people.

“As far as sustainability goes, this site is in an excellent position. It’s not too far from the town centre, public transport, schools and services like doctors, to us it’s just commonsense and logic. There are few neighbours and people will walk to the shops.”

He said improvements to the Millennium Green are also planned and, if Wealden think it is appropriate, funds from a roof tax would go towards the town’s indoor swimming pool.

After a presentation to the Parish Council this week, planning committee chairman Patrick Coffey said: “They went through all the points addressed and the public were able to ask questions. We will now be asked by Wealden to make a recommendation.”

Chris Macklin, boss of Trading4U, High Street, welcomes the new homes.

“We have come through a difficult period and are still not free from the effects of it. This scheme would bring trade to the town and in the long term increase employment.

“I work with Tomorrow’s People (a youth employment and training scheme) and anything that boosts the economy and makes it easier for young people to find jobs is a good thing. “