Decision due on detailed plans for Barcombe Cross development

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

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 2:29 pm
Proposed layout of the homes

On Wednesday (November 10), Lewes District Council’s planning committee is set to consider an application connected to proposals to build six houses on land to the east of a property known as Bridgelands, in Barcombe Cross.

The site was first granted outline planning permission in 2018, but unusually this latest application does not seek full and final approval. 

It had initially sought permission for reserved matters (RM) around layout, appearance and landscaping. However, the application was altered after concerns were raised over ecological reports submitted as part of the outline application.

In a report to the committee, a council planning officer said: “During the course of the application, it became clear that the ecological reports that had been submitted under LW/18/0627 and upon which the landscape scheme was based were not satisfactory.

“The applicant’s agent agreed to withdraw the landscape RM from this application and to submit a new Ecological Appraisal and Ecological Impact Assessment. 

“This application is currently under consideration and negotiations with the County Ecologist are on-going at the time of writing this report. Once agreed, this document would form the basis of a revised application for the landscape RM.”

At the same time as withdrawing the landscape element of the application, the developer also withdrew information submitted surrounding a number of conditions, including drainage and flooding.

This has seen concerns raised by a number of local residents, who have long argued the development (together with an application for 26 houses on an adjoining site) would create flooding issues in the area.

In a letter to the council, David Bryce, a planning agent acting on behalf of a number of these objectors, said: “It is self-evident that there is a linkage between the design of a sustainable urban drainage scheme and the reserved matters, particularly layout and landscaping, as well as with the nature conservation condition.

“It is not immediately apparent why the reserved matters are being approved before the discharge of significant and technically complex conditions, unless it is to avoid public scrutiny or to exert pressure on ESCC to accept the reserved matters approval.

“In these circumstances, we would request that the reserved matters are not approved prior to the discharge of conditions 6-11, and that the discharge of conditions 6-11 be determined by the planning applications committee.”

While residents had concerns around the impact of undetermined conditions, many objectors also raised criticisms about the details of the layout and design. These included concerns around the size of the houses proposed. 

Many objections also raised concerns about the impact of the development on local highways and ecology. 

However, the application is recommended for approval by planning officers as they consider the design and layout to be acceptable in planning terms.

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

Huw Oxburgh , Local Democracy Reporting Service