Major development of 103 new homes approved for Crowborough

A major housing development in Crowborough has been given the go-ahead, bringing an end to long-running legal dispute.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 4:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:41 pm
Steel Cross illustrative masterplan

Outline permission for up to 103 houses on land at Steel Cross, a site which has been subject to a lengthy legal battle in recent years, was granted by Wealden District Council’s planning committee north on Thursday (January 17).

The legal battle revolved around a previous refused application to develop the site which had been refused due to concerns around the impact on the High Weald AONB and the effect of development on the Ashdown Forest.

But, before making a decision, the committee heard how the site – to be accessed via Green Lane – falls within the new development boundary laid out in the draft Wealden Local Plan.

In moving a motion to approval, Cllr Phil Dixon (Con. – Rotherfield): “I think we’ve gone through that process and presumably we have assessed it properly.

“We’ve been through the AONB impact which seems to have gone through various iterations and I am concerned about that.

“I don’t think we want large developments in the AONB, but I think we have covered that now.

“It is not a terribly sustainable position, in that everyone will have to travel by car, but that is counterbalanced by the fact it is very close to the main road network there.

“I think it is a better position, frankly, than some of the other ones we have had through in the Walshes Road area and I think for that reason there is a fair amount of support for it.

“For those reasons I would be prepared to put forward a motion for approval in accordance with officers’ recommendations.”

The outline planning permission was granted subject to a number of conditions to be set out in a section 106 agreement.

They include measures to mitigate against air pollution in the Ashdown Forest, which had been the core issue of the council’s successful legal challenge against development.

According to planning documents, the mitigation measures are likely to see the developer pay the council a sum of money for each home built, which would be used to fund research and environmental management within the ancient heathland.

Planning officers also say the impact on the High Weald AONB was considered as part of the previous legal dispute and found not to be sufficient grounds for refusal.

Huw Oxburgh , Local Democracy Reporting Service