Bid to build up to 240 Polegate homes

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Proposals for a major housing development in Polegate are set to go in front of Wealden planners next week.

On Thursday (March 21), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee South is set to consider an application seeking outline permission to build up to 240 homes on land to the south of the A27 and west of Shepham Lane.

As an outline scheme, the application is only seeking permission for the principle of building the homes on the site, with all matters other than access set to come forward at a later date.

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The scheme has seen objections raised by Polegate Town Council, due to concerns around the impact of additional houses on highways and other local infrastructure. The council also raised concerns about the loss of countryside and the noise levels future residents could face as a result of the site’s proximity to the A27.

The land to the south of the A27 and west of Shepham Lane, Polegate. Pic: ContributedThe land to the south of the A27 and west of Shepham Lane, Polegate. Pic: Contributed
The land to the south of the A27 and west of Shepham Lane, Polegate. Pic: Contributed

Similar concerns have been raised by local residents, local MP Maria Caulfield, the Sussex Ramblers and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Wealden planning officers are recommending the scheme be approved, however, pointing to the council’s lack of a five-year supply of housing land (a measure used by the government to assess house-building targets) and how this puts weight in favour of development going ahead under national planning rules.

In a report to the committee, a Wealden District Council planning spokesman said: “Whilst the development is in conflict with policies … which restricts development in the countryside, material considerations that weigh heavily in favour of the development is the housing need and that the council is unable to substantiate a five-year supply of deliverable housing land.

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“The proposal would assist in the provision of housing and meet the need for affordable housing. This is a highly significant material consideration and carries substantial weight in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“Having regard to the planning balance and the considerations set out in the main body of the report, it is recommended that the application is approved subject to the recommendation set out at the front of the report including completion of a legal agreement and conditions.”

Officers say the legal agreement should include a commitment to provide 35 per cent of the site as affordable housing, with a further five per cent of the site to be custom or self-build units.

They say the legal agreement should also require off-site highways works — including improvements to the mini-roundabout at the junction of Shepham Lane and Dittons Road — and a financial contribution towards local bus services.

For further information see application reference WD/2023/0066/MAO on the Wealden District Council website.

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