Hailsham ‘eco-house’ refused

Plans to create an “eco-house” in the garden of Hailsham home have been refused by Wealden District Council. 

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 11:57 am

In a decision made under delegated powers, Wealden planning officers have refused an application to build a one-bedroom bungalow in the garden of a property in Manor Park Road, Hailsham.

The proposal to build on the site – which the applicant described as an “otherwise unusable” patch of land – was one of several to be submitted to the council in recent years, all of which were refused.

Despite this, the applicant said the proposals aimed to overcome concerns raised against the most recent previous version of the scheme, which was taken to appeal.

Proposed plot for eco home

In a design and access statement, a spokesman for the applicant said: “This proposal addresses comments made by the appeal inspector where it has been reduced in occupancy and scale with increased distances to site boundaries, has front and rear gardens, is no longer accessed via the public footpath and now has street frontage.”

The statement added: “The proposal makes optimal use of an unused windfall site to create an one-bedroom eco-home that would help meet the identified need for housing and, being a smaller site, could be built-out quicker therefore contributing towards overcoming the housing shortfall. 

“With the extensive alterations that have been made to the proposal, supported by clearly demonstrated evidence the proposal will be an improvement to the local and wider area, and the clear need for one-bedroom homes within the district, we trust that this proposal is met with enthusiastic support.”

The applicant also stressed how the building had been designed with a ‘fabric first’ approach to energy efficiency, with high levels of insulation and an array of solar panels on its roof.

Despite the applicant’s arguments, officers considered the downsides of the proposal would outweigh its benefits and appear as a “cramped development”.

In a report explaining the decision, a council planning officer said: “The balance of housing need and the principle of housing development on this site have been finely balanced. 

“In this case, the adverse effects of the development and the physical constraints of the site outweigh benefits of a single dwelling in the particular case, and a recommendation for refusal is made.”

The decision to refuse the application was made by officers in November, but is one of several schemes in a report to be considered by councillors at a planning committee meeting next Wednesday (January 13). 

For details of the scheme, see application reference WD/2020/1737/F on the Wealden District Council website.