Plans for 1,000 new homes in Uckfield given initial outline approval

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Plans for a new development featuring 1,000 homes and a primary school has received initial outline planning consent from Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee.

The application is for around 29 hectares of land to the west of Uckfield, near to the A22 and Sewage Treatment Works. It proposes the construction of up to 1,000 residential dwellings, a primary school, enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes, open spaces, car parking and provisions for retail, community, health and leisure facilities.

A SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) is proposed across the A22 road to alleviate the environmental impact from the arrival of an estimated 2,500 more people.

At a meeting held in The Civic Centre, Hailsham on Thursday, June 11, planning officers listened to objections and messages of support before making their decision.

Simon Autie, Chairman of Little Horsted Parish Meeting, said: “We object to the large-scale development of greenfield sites on principle - a big block of housing on a largely greenfield site, mounted on a ridge, blighting a rather beautiful skyline.”

Josh Gibbens, of Anvil Close, lives 50 meters from the Ridgewood Farm development area.

He said: “It would be a big disappointment to lose what is a beautiful view and a prime piece of agricultural land, even with the introduction of the SANGS. I would implore you to consider ways to mitigate the impact this development will have.”

He also mentioned an increased strain on the existing “shortfall” in education, “significantly congested” traffic, and an “extremely pungent” odour in summer from the nearby sewage works.

Southern Water also stated objections to the plans due to its proximity to the sewage works, but this has been taken into account by developers.

Speaking in favour of the plans, Andrew Hodgson, project manager from Wellbeck Strategic Land Ltd, said the development could offer “unique benefits” including employment and education provisions.

Simon Marks, of Montagu Evans Charted Surveyors, added the scheme had potential to create “423 long term, full-time equivalent jobs”.

A number of councillors expressed a desire to see the amount of affordable housing incorporated in the new development increase from its proposed 15 per cent. However, a counter-proposal to accept the limits laid out in the plan by District Council planning officers was ultimately passed by five votes to four, granting the application initial development permission.

Uckfield Town Council has requested there be an effective consultation with the public, including an event with a question and answers session, before a final plan is approved.

View a full recording of the planning committee meeting at www.wealden.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/177711.

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