Detailed plans for the latest phase of the North Street Quarter development in Lewes have been approved.
This is despite concerns that the scheme did not go far enough to reduce carbon emissions.
A hybrid application for the North Street Quarter scheme was granted planning permission in 2016. Phase one was given full permission and outline permission was granted for phases two and three.
The total scheme will see 416 new homes built alongside commercial floorspace, a health hub, flood defences, new public realm and public car park.
A reserved matters planning application for phases two and three, which includes 178 residential units, was approved by the South Downs National Park Authority’s planning committee on Thursday April 11.
But Vic Ient, policy officer of the Friends of the South Downs, said they had great concerns about the lack of importance given to tackling climate change in the application.
He asked why there was no mention of battery storage for solar energy or why air source heating had been dismissed.
They were also ‘disappointed’ heating and power from the River Ouse had been dismissed.
Imogen Makepeace, one of the objectors, said; “This development as it currently stands is one developed for the 20th century and not one that meets the climate challenges of the 21st century. Not only must the development avoid contributing to climate breakdown through its carbon footprint it must also be built to be resilient to the inevitable extremes in weather that the UK faces as the 21st century progresses.”
Jennifer Chibnall, another objector, felt it was ‘unfortunate’ the application ‘does not really conform with the neighbourhood plan’.
She asked for something a ‘great deal more imaginative’, adding: “We are losing some of the things that slipped away from us in the first application.”
Robert Cheeseman, chairman of the North Street Quarter sounding board, said there was some concern about the time it had taken to get to this point, but added: “It will provide much needed affordable housing in the town and will be designed in a way that will enhance the town.
“If we go down the road of refusing this application what we are essentially doing is leaving this land which is sterile to stay as it is for some way.”
James Lacey, from Vail Williams and acting as agent for the scheme, added: “We are immensely proud of this scheme, wish to maintain momentum and continue to balance a myriad of complex challenges.”
Planning officers described how conditions attached to the original hybrid plans asked the applicant to explore a district heat system rather than require them to deliver one.
Neville Harrison, chairman of the planning committee, said: “From what I understand it’s still being discussed. Lewes District Council has not reached a conclusion.”
Ian Phillips added: “I think it’s a valuable addition and will become a desirable and attractive part of Lewes in the future when it’s completed or I certainly hope so if we have done our jobs right.”