Housing between Newick and North Chailey refused

A controversial housing development between Newick and North Chailey has been refused by Lewes planners.
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On Wednesday (April 19), Lewes District Council’s planning committee again considered proposals to build 21 homes on a green field site to the west of Oxbottom Lane.

The scheme had actually been approved at a planning committee meeting in February, but was then brought back for a ‘fresh resolution’ in March as a result of a procedural dispute.

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During the March meeting, the committee (formed of a slightly different cast of councillors) opted to defer their decision as they were unhappy with at the time unresolved issues needed about the site’s drainage arrangements.

Proposed layout of developmentProposed layout of development
Proposed layout of development

The application came back following an update from East Sussex County Council, which (as Lead Local Flood Authority) confirmed it was content for the final drainage arrangements to be worked out through planning conditions.Several committee members were unhappy with this view, frustrated that they did not have a detailed version of the final drainage plans in front of them.

The committee’s frustrations were shared by ward councillor Isabelle Linington (Con), who said: “The decision last time was to defer the application until the outstanding issues related to drainage on the application site are fully explored and concluded yet here we are.

“It has come back, nothing has changed. No further information, just that you are being told all this can be dealt with by conditions.”

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She added: “You should be able to see the details of the final scheme and any associated changes needed to the layout and landscaping to accommodate it [before making your decision].”

This view was shared by several committee members, who questioned whether they should refuse or further defer until the detailed plans came

Officers, however, cautioned that their concerns were not reasonable grounds for refusing planning permission. This is because the drainage arrangements are viewed as a technical matter needing expert sign off.

In other words, the developer would either have to show those experts that they had a drainage system which works without causing problems, or the scheme would not be allowed to go ahead.

Ultimately, the application was (narrowly) refused on different grounds, those being the impact of development on the ‘rural character’ of the area.