Decision due on small Crowborough housing development

Proposals for a small housing development in Crowborough are set to go before Wealden planners this week. 

On Thursday (February 3), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee North is set to consider an application to build three homes off of London Road, next to land set aside for the as-yet-unbuilt Cooks Corner Day Centre. 

The proposal follows on from (and is nearly identical to) a previous application to build housing on the site, which was refused by officers under delegated powers due to concerns around highway safety. 

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In a statement submitted to the council, a spokesman for the applicant said the amended scheme addresses these concerns and should now be approved.

Proposed layout of the new homes in London Road Crowborough

The spokesman said: “Following on from this refusal the applicant’s transport consultant has worked with East Sussex Highways to produce an alternative access option which is of a standard that is considered to produce a safe access.

“The application as submitted now utilises the access discussed with East Sussex Highways but in all other respects retains the layout that was considered under the previous application.

“In this respect the application is considered to address the single reason for refusal that was previously raised and is considered capable of achieving permission.”

This view is shared by Wealden planning officers, who have recommended that the application should be approved.

Other groups, including both Crowborough Town Council and Withyham Parish Council,  are objecting to the proposals, however. 

The most common objection is based on the belief that the proposals would have a negative impact on the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

However, other concerns have also been raised around the size of the proposed buildings leading to an overdevelopment of the site. 

Concerns have also been raised by the access and highways safety, despite the position of East Sussex Highways.

Although objections have been raised, Wealden planning officers say national planning policies show the application should be approved.

In a report to be considered by the planning committee, a council planning officer said: “In this instance, while the objections to the proposal have been considered, the proposed development would result in sustainability benefits which would lead to the presumption in favour of the development being approved.

“The development would result in the provision of three additional dwellings which would weigh in favour of the proposal. There would be economic benefits arising from the scheme through the construction of the dwellings and there would be limited harm on the AONB, which in any case can be mitigated with appropriate conditions (i.e. landscaping). 

“It is concluded that on balance, taking account of the above assessment, the impact of the development, its contribution to Wealden’s five-year housing land supply, along with other material planning considerations as detailed in the main body of this report, conditional planning permission should be granted.”

If approved the development would be built out in phases, starting with the access then one house at a time.

For further details of the proposals see application reference WD/2021/2200/F on the Wealden District Council website.