Decision due on 86-home Plumpton Green development

Proposals for a major housing development in Plumpton Green are set to go before Lewes planners next week. 

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 10:06 am
Proposed layout of the Plumpton Green development

On Wednesday (December 8), Lewes District Council’s planning committee us due to consider an outline application seeking permission to build up to 86 homes on land adjacent to Nolands Farm in Station Road.

The application follows on from a previous outline application for the same site, which was refused by the council in 2018 on the grounds that development of the land would have unacceptable impact on the local landscape and on highway safety.

The applicant, Fairfax Acquisitions Limited, argues these proposals overcome the previous concerns, but council officers haven taken a different view and are recommending the scheme be refused. 

Plumpton’s Lib Dem district councillor Rob Banks, who has objected to the application, said: “The development would mean unacceptable impact and pressure on the open countryside and the intrinsic rural character of Plumpton Green and nearby area.

“A previous application for 45 houses was rightly rejected. The only reason the developers are trying to get away with 86 houses is a change in government rules which encourage these speculative bids.

“The pressure on the existing infrastructure - which cannot cope with the existing housing - includes sewers which frequently fail, a poor power supply and narrow rural roads. Indeed the rural road which serves the village would be urbanised.

“And you would see hundreds of extra car movements a day on local roads as the village has no essential services like a GP surgery - that’s not good for the environment.

“This development is outside of the 2018 Neighbourhood Plan which was voted on by local people - and allowed some new housing in the village but this site was rejected. Democracy should be respected.”

County councillor Sarah Osborne (LDem, Ouse Valley West and Downs), who also wrote to object, added: “The site was rejected for 45 houses in 2019, for very good reasons including impact on the countryside and landscape. So 86 would be really devastating. I also fear the damage to people’s well-being and mental health resulting from the loss of yet more green space.”

In a report to be considered by the committee, a council planning officer said: “The applicant has submitted an indicative layout, design, scale and landscaping details that demonstrate the site is capable of accommodating the development proposed.

“However it is considered that this extensive development to the east of the village, extending the built form of the village onto an area of undeveloped countryside would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the wider landscape setting of this part of the village and wider countryside. 

“Overall, it is considered that the proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on areas or assets of significant importance … and result in significant harm that would outweigh the benefit that up to 86 new dwellings would have in assisting the district in addressing housing need.”

This view is disputed by Fairfax which argues the development would represent a ‘sensitive extension’ to the village, which would bring a variety of social and economic benefits to the village and district.

The proposals have proven to be highly controversial among local residents, with the council receiving more than 500 letters of objection (although the report notes some will have come from the same address). These objections cover a wide range of issues, including the development’s impact on local wildlife and infrastructure. 

Objections have also been raised by Plumpton Parish Council, the neighbouring Barcombe and Chailey parish councils as well as the charity CPRE, which have all called for the application to be refused.

As an outline application, all details of the proposed development apart from access (via a new entrance to Station Road) would require further planning permission at a later stage.

Even so, Fairfax says the final site would be made up of 40 per cent affordable housing, which would equal 34 units. Two existing properties would be demolished as part of the proposals.

The application is not the same as first submitted, having been amended with the removal of a previously proposed business hub and a slight reduction in home from 89 to 86.

For further information on the proposals see application reference LW/21/0262 on the Lewes District Council website.