Hailsham development to accommodate extra homes

Application site
Application site

Plans to build extra new homes at a development site in Hailsham have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

On Thursday (August 15), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south approved an application to build 52 properties on land off Mill Road.

These 52 homes replace the previously consented 34 dwellings on this part of the development site, an increase of 18.

This parcel is part of a larger development for 175 homes already granted outline approval.

Before making a decision, the committee heard from planning agent Sam Sykes, who spoke on behalf of developers Linden Homes.

Mr Sykes said: “The mix of approved three and four-bedroom properties is amended to provide for additional smaller one and two-bedroom properties, within a much broader mix across the site. 

“This is a beneficial improvement in the scheme, which now better meets the draft local plan. 

“Specifically the amendments seek to better address the housing need and demand in Hailsham and we agree with your officers that this would carry great weight in this application.”

Mr Sykes said the amendments also see an increase in the overall numbers of affordable homes to be built as part of the Mill Road scheme, 24 of which are to be shared ownership properties.

While eventually approved, some concerns were raised over the additional housing by ward councillor Gavin Blake-Coggins (Lib Dem). 

He said: “The history of this site goes back a tremendously long way, long before my being elected to this council.

“Only two days ago  I went down to Swan Lane with a colleague and we were watching, with quite a lot of interest, the amount of water that was flowing out at quite a high rate from a number of the manholes down there. 

“Clearly the recent rain has prevented the system from working as adequately as it possibly could do. 

“There has been a point in the past, before all the development was actually finished, that I drove down there in over a metre of water.

“So the drainage and the flooding is a major issue.”

Cllr Blake-Coggins also raised concerns about the lack of green space provided within the scheme and the pressures on sewerage infrastructure.

He also took the opportunity to criticise Linden Homes for the disruption experienced to residents since construction work began on the wider site. 

In response, officers said the flooding arrangements would be looked at as part of the planning conditions, with extra measures to be put in place as necessary. 

Officers also said they would expect to see additional green space to be provided elsewhere on the site, also to be secured through conditions, as a result of the increase in house numbers.

The conditions would also address concerns about disruption through a construction plan, officers said.

Other councillors, however, viewed the changes to the scheme in a more positive light. 

Cllr Roger Thomas (Con, Heathfield South) said: “I am happy to take the officer’s report and I am quite happy to say we should accept this. 

“As someone who represented Hailsham for 16 years  I am delighted by the size of these dwellings.

“So many of the groups we are given these days don’t have enough to help people get on to the housing ladder. We need to help the young people coming up in their careers as much as we can.

“I applaud this particular development and I would like to propose that we accept it.”

Following further discussion the proposal was approved, subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement by developers.