Barcombe housing development refused

Proposals for a housing development in Barcombe have been refused. 

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:24 pm

On Wednesday (April 21), Lewes District Council’s planning committee considered an outline application, from developer Rydon Homes Limited, to build 26 homes on land off of Barcombe High Street.

While the site had been allocated for housing within the local plan and recommended for approval, the committee refused the scheme on the grounds of its proposed access and impact on ecology. 

Councillors had particular concerns that the proposed access road would cut through an existing hedge in order to join with High Street.

Cllr Imogen Makepeace (Green) said: “Having to cut down what is an ancient hedge is going to create visibility difficulties at all times. Sometimes the road might be icy and slippery. 

“I am very uncomfortable about this particular access. I think it cannot work. I do not think taking out the ancient hedge is the way to do it.”

She added: “I would like to propose this application be refused on the grounds of highways safety and nature conservation.”

The scheme had also proven to be controversial among a group of Barcombe residents, who argue the scheme will have an unacceptable impact on the local area.

Some of these objections had also been tied to another application for housing within the village – proposals to build six houses on a plot off of a nearby road, known as Bridgelands. Objectors said the two proposals, in combination, would have a particular impact on flooding which would affect residents living in Bridgelands.

These elements did not form part of the committee’s reasons for refusal, however.

Before moving the vote, officers warned that proposed reasons for refusal would likely leave the council open to costs if taken to appeal. 

Andrew Hill, senior specialist planning advisor, said: “Both those aspects have been looked at and considered by professional officers. Those professional officers have said there are no justifications for refusing it on highways grounds or nature conservation grounds.

“It is entirely up to the committee to make that decision but if this were to go to appeal there are implications, based on the fact that unqualified committee members are making a recommendation against the professional advice of officers. 

“I just thought I had to bring that to your attention.”

Despite these warnings, the committee ultimately opted to refuse planning permission on a majority vote.

For further details of the proposals see application reference LW/20/0245 on the Lewes District Council planning website.