More homes at Hailsham development agreed

Layout plan for new development
Layout plan for new development

Proposals to amend a major housing development near Hailsham have been given the go ahead by Wealden Planners

On Thursday (July 18), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south considered an application to build 169 homes at the Oaklands site off of Ersham Road.

Artist's impression of the new development

Artist's impression of the new development

In considering the application, the committee heard how development of the site has a ‘long and chequered history’ with the council having previously lost an appeal to refuse planning permission (and subsequently granting a further application).

Development of the site for up to 167 homes is already underway, with this application both seeking to increase the number of homes allowed to 169 and change its final layout.

Several councillors, however, reiterated their wider concerns about the impact of the scheme, including Cllr Nigel Coltman (Con, Hailsham Central) who raised fears about the delivery of road improvements required by East Sussex Highways.

He  said: “This has been fully aired in times past.  We have gone through our objections been to the planning inspector and been overruled. This scheme is going to go ahead.

“What I am really concerned about is that the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) money will come in too late to pay for the roundabout [at Ersham Road].

“How are we going to make sure that roundabout gets built before traffic starts pouring up Ersham Road and tries to get out under the already crowded South Road and Diplocks?”

In response, planning officers said the money for the work is to be delivered as work begins, but warned that there may be a ‘time lag’ between the first homes being occupied and the road works beginning. 

Other councillors, meanwhile, aimed criticism at East Sussex Highways, saying they believed further road improvements should have been requested. 

Ultimately, the committee approved the application, largely because of the existing planning consent. However they also added additional conditions on the management of construction traffic.

Cllr Roger Thomas (Con, Heathfield South) said: “No plan of this size is perfect, but quite frankly for the reasons that have been said – and with the safeguarding of various monies [for improvements] – it really leave us with very little choice but to support this.”

According to planning documents, the approved proposals are to be a mix of 110 market dwellings and 59 affordable units, with around half of these affordable units to be either two- or three-bedroom houses.  The site will also contain 349 parking spaces.

In a design and access statement submitted as part of the application, the developer said: “The proposal will bring about an attractive scheme that delivers quality new housing in Hailsham with an improved public footpath link and attractive open space and play areas.

“Accessible housing, much needed affordable housing to meet local needs and the provision of bungalows as part of the overall housing offer are all benefits of the scheme that are consistent with the extant permission and reserved matters approval at the site.”

For further details of the proposals see reference WD/2018/2543/MAJ on the Wealden District Council planning website.