Widespread anger after controversial Ringmer housing development approved by the government

Councillors, planning campaigners and Ringmer residents are furious that a controversial development has been given the green light by a government planning inspector.
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Housing developer Croudace submitted plans for up to 100 homes and a sports facilities on land at Broyle Gate Farm, next to Kings Academy in the East Sussex village.

Cabinet councillors at the Lewes District Council say Croudace took advantage of a loophole to get the development approved, having bypassed the local planning committee to get the proposals accepted.

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Emily O’Brien, Green Party Parliamentary spokesperson & Ringmer District Councillor, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that once again our local wishes have been overridden by a distant Planning inspector with a government housing target written on a clipboard - who has zero accountability to local people.

Housing developer Croudace submitted plans for up to 100 homes and a sports facilities on land at Broyle Gate Farm, next to Kings Academy in the East Sussex village.Housing developer Croudace submitted plans for up to 100 homes and a sports facilities on land at Broyle Gate Farm, next to Kings Academy in the East Sussex village.
Housing developer Croudace submitted plans for up to 100 homes and a sports facilities on land at Broyle Gate Farm, next to Kings Academy in the East Sussex village.

“In the end, the only thing that mattered was the flawed system of housing targets and loopholes that ride roughshod across all our local and neighbourhood planning policy. Government keeps saying they are going to scrap the flawed housing target algorithm - but until they do these are just empty promises.

“I gave evidence at the appeal hearing as to how the already unacceptable levels of raw sewage discharge at our local water treatment works would be worsened by another 100 houses. And that was just one of so many reasons this development should be refused.”

The district council says Croudace submitted its appeal at the same time it sent the planning application to the council.

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Once the 13-week determination period was passed, that appeal went straight to the government planning inspector, before it even reached the planning committee.

Emily O’Brien, Green Party Parliamentary spokesperson & Ringmer District Councillor, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that once again our local wishes have been overridden by a distant Planning inspector with a government housing target written on a clipboard - who has zero accountability to local people.Emily O’Brien, Green Party Parliamentary spokesperson & Ringmer District Councillor, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that once again our local wishes have been overridden by a distant Planning inspector with a government housing target written on a clipboard - who has zero accountability to local people.
Emily O’Brien, Green Party Parliamentary spokesperson & Ringmer District Councillor, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that once again our local wishes have been overridden by a distant Planning inspector with a government housing target written on a clipboard - who has zero accountability to local people.

Councillors say the development is at odds with the council’s local plan and outside the Ringmer Neigbourhood Plan.

Sean MacLeod, Liberal Democrat councillor for Ringmer and Ouse Valley, said: “This space is supposed to be left to keep a clear land break between Ringmer and the Broyle. This land is also a flood plain and floods regularly. The field next door is also at the planning inspectorate today and of that is approved, that means a further 68 houses.

"The land opposite is also up for development another 200 houses, plus we have Thakeham another 80 houses also going to the planning inspectorate. This has to stop, and it should stop here.

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“The infrastructure just isn’t there. Local schools are at capacity so are the doctors and the dentists. And then we have the real issue with sewage already in Ringmer with 10 hours of sewage spills every week.

"It is so bad that in the last heavy rains the managers at the Bovis site, next door to this one, asked their residents not to flush their loos to avoid overtaxing the system they had put in place. It’s madness to go on approving more houses being built in these circumstances.”

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In January, Croudace Homes submitted the proposals to the council, which were refused on the grounds it would have an adverse impact on the countryside.

Then, six months later, the developers were described as ‘bullies’ by Lewes District and Ringmer Parish councillors for taking the proposals to an appeal hearing, where both councils opposed the development.