Hailsham housing plans allowed on appeal by inspector

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A planning inspector has overturned refusals connected to housing  proposals in Hailsham. 

In a decision notice published on Monday (April 4), a planning inspector has allowed appeals connected to two applications from TA Homes Ltd to build housing on land in Coldthorn Lane. 

One application (Appeal B) sought outline permission to build up to 30 houses on the land surrounding a property known as Coldthorn Barn, while the other (Appeal A) sought full planning permission to build three houses on a subsection of this wider site.

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Both schemes had been separately refused by Wealden District Council planning officers in 2020 on the grounds they would harm the character and appearance of the area and be in an unsustainable location. 

The plans considered under Appeal AThe plans considered under Appeal A
The plans considered under Appeal A

This was disputed by the developer, which argued the district’s lack of a five-year supply of housing land meant planners should have found in favour, as the downsides did not “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

While some harm was identified by the inspector, they ultimately found in favour of this view and approved both schemes. 

In their report, the inspector said: “Both proposals would provide much needed housing, albeit for Appeal A to a relatively small degree. In addition, Appeal B would provide affordable housing to help satisfy the needs of the local community. I give these matters great weight. 

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“There would be economic benefits arising from employment during construction and spend in the local economy and I give these matters significant weight, although recognising that for Appeal A this would be tempered by the small scale of the proposals.

Indicative layout of the scheme considered at Appeal BIndicative layout of the scheme considered at Appeal B
Indicative layout of the scheme considered at Appeal B

“In balancing the above I find that the adverse impacts I have identified would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposals.

“Accordingly there are material considerations that indicate the decisions should be other than in accordance with the development plan. The appeals should be allowed.”

The developer has full planning permission for the three house scheme, however, they only have outline planning permission for the 30-house scheme. As part of the larger scheme, the inspector also approved proposals to subdivide Coldthorn Barn into two houses.

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The developer had initially put forward plans for how the larger scheme should be laid out, but these were withdrawn during the appeal process. Notably, this withdrawn plan would have been in conflict with the other proposals. 

Wealden District Council had objected to this layout being withdrawn (arguing it meant it was not the scheme they had made a decision on. However, the inspector disagreed with this argument as the layout could be decided as a reserved matter.

Both proposals would have the same access point off of Coldthorn Lane.

For further details on the proposals see planning applications WD/2020/0894/F and WD/2020/1504/MAO on the Wealden District Council website.

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