'Out of character' Stone Cross development refused

Proposals for a housing development in Stone Cross have been refused.

On Wednesday (May 11), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south turned down an application seeking permission to build nine houses in Hailsham Road.

While outside of the village’s development boundary, the scheme had been recommended for approval, largely because Wealden’s lack of a five-year housing land supply creates a presumption in favour of development.

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The committee, however, had concerns about the suitability of the site for development, particularly the mix of housing proposed, which officers said would have been one three-bed home, one five-bed home and seven four-bedroom homes.

Proposed layout of the Stone Cross housing development

Among those to raise concerns was Gary Johnson (Con), who said: “I have listened very carefully to this but I still think this is an overdevelopment.

“It is out of character, it is not affordable, it is an unjustifiable departure application, it is outside of the development boundary so I would propose that we reject this application.”

Several committee members had also raised concerns about the loss of a hedgerow from the site, although it was heard that developers would be required to plant a replacement.

Similar concerns had been raised by others, including ward councillor Alastair Douglas (Con) who also argued the scheme would add to existing infrastructure pressures in the area.

Other councillors were less convinced of these concerns, however, arguing that the scheme was a relatively acceptable development. This saw words of caution from Cllr Brian Redman (Con), who argued that frustrations with the level of development in Wealden as a whole may have been influencing the committee’s decision-making.

He said: “I have had quite a hard time listening to the previous two discussions, because you get the impression that whatever was going to be put up it would have been turned down by this committee, because everybody is fed up with the amount of development.

“But are we really here to say, whatever development is going on, ‘we are not going to concrete over Wealden, we’ve had enough’.”

He added: “I understand the feeling on this committee I’ve felt today, but in this case with our policies it is a perfectly normal, reasonable development, with the conditions and the changes you are recommending.”

Although not every committee member shared concerns about the proposals, it was refused on a majority vote.