Decision due on 205 new homes between Hailsham and Uckfield

Proposals to build hundreds of homes in a small rural village are set to return to Wealden planners next week.

On Thursday (August 11), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee South are set to consider an application to build 205 homes on the Hesmonds Stud farm site off of Waldron Road in East Hoathly.

The development would significantly increase the size of the existing village, which currently contains just under 400 homes.

The application comes after separate proposals to build out the site received outline permission in 2020. While this latest scheme is not directly connected, planning officers say the previous approval (for the same number of homes) is “a powerful material consideration”.

Proposed layout of the development

As with the previous proposals, the scheme has proven to be highly controversial among local residents. According to meeting papers, the council has received in excess of 200 objections from local residents. The previous scheme saw more than 900 objections.

Objectors raise a wide variety of concerns, from infrastructure to design. They also raise concerns about the impact of the development on local wildlife and the village’s character.

Objections have also been raised by Halland Parish Council and Historic England, with the latter arguing that the development would harm the heritage assets within the East Hoathly Conservation Area.

Officers, however, say these concerns can be addressed through suitable conditions, which would make the application acceptable.

In a report recommending the application be approved, a Wealden planning officer said: “The package of public benefits here, including much-needed market, affordable and bespoke homes all secured on a deliverable site outside any protected landscape; is considered to outweigh the less than substantial harm to heritage assets.

“There are other benefits here too in regard to the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development [which] add further to the consideration. More details are given in the main body of the report.

“Whilst noting the number of representations lodged in this case, the considerable benefits of the scheme are not outweighed by the modest impacts the development would impose, following adequate mitigation.”

For further details of the proposals see application reference WD/2022/0341 on the Wealden District Council website.