On Thursday (July 21), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee North provisionally approved an outline application to build up to 40 houses on land off of Coopers Row.
The meeting came a day after the authority unanimously passed a motion calling on Southern Water to provide more information on sewerage capacity when it responds to housing applications.
This further information would include details of how the water company would connect new developments to the network and whether the network could deal with them.
Much of the discussion centred around this motion, with some councillors arguing that the scheme should be deferred until the further information set out in the motion was available to the committee.
Others argued that the area already suffered from sewerage issues (and other infrastructure pressures), so should be refused. Officers advised against this view, pointing to the lack of objection from Southern Water or any other statutory consultant on infrastructure grounds.
Officers also pointed to an appeal decision at a nearby site (see application reference WD/2020/1088/MAO). That decision, published the previous week, saw a planning inspector overturn a council refusal on similar grounds to the concerns raised.
Ultimately, the committee approved the scheme on the proviso that further information on sewerage capacity would be sought from Southern Water. This means the scheme would not be fully approved unless the company provides details on its network connections, including the cumulative impact of previously-approved developments.
For further information on the application see reference WD/2021/1895/MAO on the Wealden District Council website.