New Polegate development given thumbs up - but construction traffic concerns raised

Greenleaf Gardens, artist's impression
Greenleaf Gardens, artist's impression

Controversial proposals for a major housing development in Polegate have been given the go ahead by Wealden planners.

On Thursday (November 8), Wealden District Council’s planning committee granted a reserved matters application to build 40 dwellings on a site to the west of Greenleaf Gardens on the northern edge of the town.

While the scheme had already been granted outline planning permission, meaning the principle of developing the site was already agreed, it had proven controversial among Polegate residents.

In all planners received  27 letters of objection from residents as well as further objections from Polegate Town Council and local members.

Addressing some of these concerns at the meeting, ward councillor Angela Snell (Con. – Polegate North) said: “I just want to point out that this is a reserved matters application so we have to bear in mind that planning permission has already been granted.

“I remember sitting on the committee and arguing against the original application as the local ward member for Polegate North, but we are where we are.

“I think we need to look at what reserved matters was designed to do and look at the outline and the design.”

To this end, Cllr Snell raised concerns about the potential for parking and traffic pressures during construction due to the site’s proximity to Polegate School.

To mitigate this Cllr Snell called for a ‘very robust’ construction management plan, taking the school run into account, and asked for it to be strictly enforced.

David Watts (Con. – Chiddingly and East Hoathly) supported Cllr Snell’s request for a construction management plan, but raised concerns about how closely it could be enforced.

He said: “There has been some deliberation around the enforcement of certain conditions and as you know I have mentioned enforcement issues at this committee on numerous occasions.

“I still have very serious concerns – not just on this application but across the district – about enforcement issues.  If the committee is going to put in place any conditions – whether they might be road management issues or other conditions – then enforcement is absolutely critical.

“There is no point in us deliberating and passing conditions unless enforcement is carried out.”

In response, the council’s head of planning Chris Bending assured Cllr Watts that the conditions would be enforced.

Mr Bending said: “We should be clear whenever we place conditions then we are trying to influence human behaviour, what people can do and their right to use the road network. They are difficult conditions to enforce and of course we only have limited resource.

“Can we have an enforcement officer sat outside the site every morning to make sure that the deliveries don’t arrive? No, realistically we can’t. Certainly not for every site in the district

“But what we do is react to the intelligence coming to us from local residents. We do make every effort to make developers stick to those requirements.”

Before voting on the proposals, councillors also heard how the East Sussex County Council as the local lead flood authority and Wealden District Council’s own drainage engineer had both withdrawn objections after receiving further details from developers.

However councillors were also made aware of outstanding concerns of the East Sussex shared services pollution control team around noise pollution from the nearby A27. To address this the committee was advised to put additional planning conditions in place to ensure a solution was agreed before groundwork could begin on the housing.

Following discussion the proposals and additional conditions were approved with nine votes in favour.