Decision due on 70-home Bexhill development

The next stage of a controversial housing development in Bexhill is set to go before council planners next week. 

On Thursday (August 12), Rother District Council’s planning committee is set to consider a reserved matters application for a 70-home housing development at Clavering Walk.

The scheme, from developers Bellway Homes, was granted outline planning permission for up to 85 houses in April last year after a decision to refuse was overturned at appeal.

In light of this outline planning approval, the scheme is recommended for approval by council planning officers. 

Proposed layout plan

However, the scheme has also proven to be highly controversial with  residents, who have submitted hundreds of letters of objections over the course of the application and also formed the Bellway Opposition Action Group (BOAG) to raise their concerns.

Through BOAG (which has provided technical objections) residents argue that there is no guarantee the site can be both prevented from flooding and avoid having an impact on the protected Pevensey Levels ‘in perpetuity’.

This, BOAG says, means the scheme cannot conform to the habitat regulations and should not be approved. 

However, this view is not shared by responsible authorities, including East Sussex County Council (as the lead local flood authority) and the Pevensey and Cuckmere Water Level Management Board (PCWLMB).

These authorities both say more information on flooding and drainage will be needed to discharge planning conditions imposed by the planning inspectorate. This will need to be done before construction work can begin on the site, but the authorities say the current information is sufficient for this stage of the process.

As a result they have not raised objections to the reserved matters application being approved. 

In a report to the committee, a council planning officer said: “The Inspector imposed condition 17 on her decision to grant outline planning permission.

“Condition 17 is a pre-commencement condition, requiring drainage details, as set out in the condition wording, to be submitted and approved in writing by the local planning authority prior to commencement of development on site.

“Note that only the reserved matters submission and not details submitted to discharge condition 17 are under consideration through this committee report.

“The applicant will need to submit further details in response to the LLFA/PCWLMB consultation response and these details will need to be approved in writing by the local planning authority prior to any works commencing on site.”

Another major concern from residents is the potential impact of development on the junction of Clavering Walk and Cooden Sea Road. However, no objections have been raised by East Sussex Highways to this either. 

Other concerns around impact on local infrastructure and amenities were considered as part of the outline planning application. 

For further information on the proposals see application reference RR/2020/2260/P on the Rother District Council website.

Huw Oxburgh , Local Democracy Reporting Service