Planners to consider development near Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest
Ashdown Forest

Proposals to build a lodge house in grounds of Chapel Wood Manor are to go before Wealden planners this week. 

On Thursday (August 22), Wealden District Council’s planning committee north is to consider an application to build a lodge house at the Chapel Wood Manor Estate near Nutley.

According to planning documents, the single storey lodge house will be used as housing for a staff member involved in the day-to-day management of the estate.

Currently part of the manor’s gardens, the site for the proposed building is within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and close to the Ashdown Forest’s special protection area, leading to concerns being raised by Danehill Parish Council.

In a letter to Wealden planners, a parish council spokesman said: “The parish council objects to the application due to its proximity to the [Ashdown] Forest and the stealth development of an additional dwelling within the protected special area.

“We would also ask the conservators to be consulted.”

Wealden planning officers, however, are recommending the application be approved, saying the parish council’s concerns around ‘stealth development’ are not sustainable.

According to an officer’s report, the lodge would be considered as part of the existing development (i.e. the manor), so would not be considered as a new ‘operational development’ under planning law. 

Planning officers say this is because the lodge is to accommodate a member of staff whose roles and responsibilities are considered necessary for the ongoing maintenance of the site.

Planning officers also say the building would not be independent of the main manor building as a private residence, with this to be protected by conditions.

Should this change further planning permission would be required, planning officers say.

The report says: “The proposal for the construction of a detached ancillary lodge is considered to comply with national and local policy and accordingly conditional approval is recommended.”

Chapel Wood Manor (also known as Chelwood Manor) was used as an auxiliary hospital during the First World War, counting the war poet Siegfried Sassoon among its patients. 

Its gardens were laid out in 1905 by the Edwardian architect and garden designer Thomas Hayton Mawton.