Newick housing appeals dismissed by planning inspector

A planning inspector has thrown out two appeals seeking to overturn the refusal of a controversial housing development in Newick.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 4:00 pm
Proposed layout of housing on edge of Newick

In a decision published this week, a planning inspector has dismissed appeals on two applications to build 69 homes at the Woods Fruit Farm site, part of which has been allocated for housing under the village’s neighbourhood plan.

Even so, both applications had been refused by the council’s planning committee (against officer advice), due to the wider site going beyond the development boundary contained within that neighbourhood plan.

Developer Thakeham Homes disputed this refusal, arguing the proposals would make good use of the site, particularly in light of Lewes District Council’s lack of a five-year housing supply giving a presumption of approval to sustainable development.

In appeal documents a spokesman for the developer said: “Whilst the development plan remains the starting point, the tilted balance in favour of development is a significant material consideration for the purpose of this appeal. 

“However, even in the event that the council could demonstrate a deliverable supply of housing sites, this should not preclude the granting of planning permission for sustainable development in the right locations.”

The spokesman added: “In the context of this appeal, there are no adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits. 

“In particular, the proposed developments are consistent with specific policies in the National Planning Policy Framework which seek to significantly boost housing land supply.”

This view was not shared by the planning inspector, however, who concluded development of the site would “erode and diminish the verdant character and beauty of the rural type gap” between the site and a neighbouring property.

This, the inspector said, was an adverse impact which would outweigh the benefits of additional housing in the area.

The inspector said: “Having considered all matters raised in support of the developments I find that the other considerations in this case do not clearly outweigh the harm that I have identified.

“The proposed developments would conflict with the adopted development plan and the Framework, and there are no material considerations indicating a decision otherwise than in accordance with those policies.”

As a result, the inspector dismissed the appeals on both applications.