Newhaven development narrowly approved

Illustrative layout of the siteIllustrative layout of the site
Illustrative layout of the site
Outline proposals for a housing development in Newhaven have been approved in a close vote by Lewes planners.

On Wednesday (July 22), Lewes District Council’s planning committee approved an outline application to build up to nine three-bedroom houses on land off Valley Road.

The application proved to be contentious among committee members, due largely to concerns around highways pressures on Valley Road – part of which is an unadopted single track road – and particularly the proximity of the Breakwater Academy primary school.

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Among those to raise concerns about the proposals was Newhaven North councillor Julie Carr (Lib Dem), whose ward includes the site. She said: “One of my main concerns is the traffic.

“I was contacted by the school and the PTA of the school to go and see for myself the problems with traffic at both the early morning times when children were going to school and also the afternoons when they come out of the school.

“I have to say I am quite surprised and quite shocked at the situation you have there with cars coming and going [and] children trying to cross the road. Indeed I witnessed a really near miss, with a child who ran across the road and a car reversing.”

Cllr Carr also raised concerns about the potential of flooding on the site, citing previous issues nearby, as well as the potential impact of the development on ecology and environment.

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She added: “You say the thing we have to consider as a committee is if this is an acceptable application in principle. I’m afraid, given the levels of my concerns about those three areas, I don’t think it is at the moment.”

Similar concerns were also raised by Steve Saunders (Ind), who also represents the Newhaven North ward.

Other committee members, however, felt differently about the overall scheme.

Tom Jones (Con, Ditchling and Westmeston) proposed that the committee impose additional planning conditions intended to improve access to the site, suggesting the inclusion of a wide road and turning circle to ease access on to Valley Road.

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Other conditions should cover concerns over flooding and ecology, he added.

He said: “I appreciate the concerns expressed by my fellow councillors, however I do believe that we can overcome a lot of those by what we put into our conditions now, and that is what we should be looking at.”

Following a lengthy discussion, the application was approved with six votes for, four against and one abstention. 

After the vote, committee chairman Sharon Davey stressed her view that the conditions would mitigate any impact from the development.

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These would include: a detailed drainage system, including a plan to for management and maintenance; a plan on measures to reduce carbon energy use; a construction management plan and additional conditions for a widened access road.

She said: “I want to be absolutely clear, whilst we are online, that there will be extensive conditions. I would like those conditions, officers please, to be included in the minutes. 

“I would like that very much please, because there was much discussion. 

“[The committee] spoke about it at length and it is very important to the people of Newhaven and I think it would be helpful to see it in writing.”

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As an outline scheme the final scheme will require further planning permission for the reserved matters.

For further information see application reference LW/19/0205 on the Lewes District Council planning website.

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