Controversial storage yard near Hailsham reluctantly approved

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Wealden planners have granted retrospective planning permission for a storage yard in Lower Dicker.

At a meeting on Thursday (February 28), Wealden District Council’s planning committee approved plans to use part of Nabscott Farm by the A22 as a storage yard for recyclable building materials.

The site has proven to be controversial among residents, who said the site had been used to process waste rather than just store it.

Speaking at the meeting, neighbour Chris Larsen said: “Since July 2017 we have been subjected to extreme noise levels caused by heavy machinery pummelling hardcore, bricks and waste into the ground and building a so-called pole-barn by using all sorts of machinery.

“Since then there have been tonnes and tonnes of waste deposited every day by pick-up trucks. This work has been carried out seven days a week during this time.

“Bonfires have been lit, causing toxic waste smoke covering our washing, garden and intruding into our houses. All of this is totally unacceptable given it is a residential area.”

Mr Larsen also described the used the site as a ‘demolition yard’, a view shared by Richard Scott, another neighbour who also spoke at the meeting.

The committee also heard objections from ward member David White (Wealden Independents – Hellingly.)

While committee members raised concerns about the reported use of the site, council officers recommended the application for approval with a number of conditions.

Officers said the committee needed to consider the application as proposed, rather than the activity reported by residents.

The proposals, officers said, were considered appropriate for the site and would be subject to planning conditions restricting what could and could not be done on site.

The planning conditions included a limit on the times the site can operate, preventing it from operating on Sundays and Bank Holidays and limiting its Saturday hours.

Conditions also limit the site for storage use only, as using the site to process waste would go beyond what the planning permission allowed.

Angela Snell (Conservative – Polegate North) said: “I want to clarify for a couple of the speakers who understandably have concerns.

“This is a retrospective application and, as the officer has just explained, the application is really different from what is happening now. As a committee we can only go on what comes before us as an application.

“If – and I am saying this very guardedly – this application is successful, it is just for a storage yard, to store recycled building material.

“If the applicant does not stick to those conditions, it does become an enforcement matter and the council can act.”

Cllr Snell also recommended residents keep a record of the use of the site in order, if the planning conditions were not followed.

However other committee members raised concerns about granting planning permission in light of the reported use.

Concerns were also raised about the proposed access on to the A22, but officers said no objections had been put forward by East Sussex Highways.

Following debate the committee granted planning permission with five votes in favour, two against and three abstentions.