‘No alternative’ so homes to be built in the countryside


A planning inspector has overruled Wealden District Council’s decision to refuse planning consent for more than 200 new homes on land in Crowborough.

The homes will be built at Steel Cross between Crowborough Rugby Club and Palesgate Lane, controversially in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Although councillors opposed the scheme, developers launched an appeal last year. And last week Government planning inspector David Nicolson announced it had been successful on the grounds that there is nowhere else in the vicinity where the development could take place. Building 103 homes including 42 affordable dwellings, provision of 10 hectares of land for a SANG, public open space and car parks, can now begin.

April’s inquiry considered issues such has the impact of the development on the character and appearance of the countryside.

Mr Nicolson said: “While housing and affdordable housing could theoretically be developed elsewhere, most of the District is within the AONB so there are few alternatives that are not equally constrained. The council put forward the Pine Grove and South East Crowborough (SEC) emerging allocations but the Pine Grove allocation was not endorsed by the Inspector and SEC has potential highway problems.”

Objectors had said the area did not have the necessary infrastructure to absorb a housing development of this size.

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