Decision due on major 119-home Crowborough development

A controversial housing development in Crowborough is set to go back before Wealden planners next week. 

Proposed site layout of the 119-home development off Eridge Road, Crowborough
Proposed site layout of the 119-home development off Eridge Road, Crowborough

On Thursday (January 13), Wealden District Council’s planning committee north is set to again consider a reserved matters application connected to proposals to build 119 homes on land north of Eridge Road.

The scheme, which has already been approved in principle, was last considered by the committee in November.

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While officers had recommended the scheme should have been approved at the November meeting, members had concerns that the development’s surface water drainage plans had not been finalised.

Officers had argued this was not a concern, as sign off on these plans would be covered by condition. 

In the end, however, members felt that extra care should be taken in light of the site’s controversial planning history and deferred the proposals until those technical plans were signed off by East Sussex County Council

This has now been done and officers are again recommending the application be approved, albeit with a number of conditions governing construction. 

These conditions would also require developers to begin building within one year of the permission being granted. 

A decision at this latest meeting could see the end of a long-running dispute around the site. 

When first considered, the outline scheme was refused planning permission, but was later approved after a fresh hearing was called under unusual circumstances.

For months the council declined to explain its reasons for holding a fresh hearing, beyond saying it had received legal advice after concerns were raised around “the decision-making process”.

In November 2020 however, the authority revealed the second hearing came about after developers Fairfax Acquisitions complained that Crowborough North councillor Kay Moss had spoken against the application at an even earlier meeting the same year, without correctly declaring how she lived opposite the site.

This, the council said, could have left the committee’s refusal open to judicial review.

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For further information on the proposals see application reference WD/2021/0897/MRM on the Wealden District Council website.