Plans for 100 homes in Ringmer submitted by developer

Developers have put forward proposals for a major housing development in Ringmer. 

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:32 am

In an application to Lewes District Council, developer Croudace Homes is seeking outline planning permission to build up to 100 homes and sports facilities on land at Broyle Gate Farm, next to Kings Academy. 

The same developer had previously sought planning permission to develop the site in 2014 (then for 70 houses), but the application was refused.

It was refused on the grounds it would have an adverse impact on the countryside and because the whole site had been allocated for a sports and recreational use in the local and neighbourhood plans. This decision was upheld at appeal in 2016.

Illustrative layout of the proposed 100-home Ringmer development

However, Croudace says the current need for housing in the district means there is a ‘very different planning policy background’, which they argue means development should now be approved.

In a statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for Croudace said: “The Lewes Local Plan Part 1 and Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan are both more than five years old, and predicated on meeting an obsolete housing need figure.

“This presents a very different planning policy background compared to when the previous scheme was determined in 2016. 

“Furthermore, local housing need is now calculated according to a standard methodology which requires delivery of 782 homes per year across the whole district. There is an acute housing land supply deficit in Lewes and a growing demand for new housing to meet identified need. 

“National Policy dictates that, in these circumstances, the policies in the Local Development Plan which relate to the supply of housing land are out of date.”

The spokesman added: “The proposal would also deliver much needed community facilities helping to meet a locally identified deficit of football pitches, tennis courts and play space. 

“The delivery of these facilities is guaranteed through an agreement made between Croudace and Ringmer Sport and Recreation, which is also a co-applicant. This means these facilities can be provided quickly once planning consent is granted. 

“Delivery of these facilities is a significant public benefit weighing heavily in favour of the application.”

However local members have already spoken out strongly against the application.

Emily O’Brien, Green district councillor for Ouse Valley and Ringmer, said: “As a ward councillor I am fuming at yet another speculative housing development facing Ringmer. This application has already been kicked out firstly by our local planning committee and then by the government inspector.

“It is only re-appearing because of our broken planning system. We urgently need an announcement from government to follow up on promises that they will change the housing target system and scrap the changes they made in 2018 which give developers a field day instead of protecting our green fields.

“I have no doubt our local councillors on planning committee will chuck this one out if they possibly can, as they have done so recently, but they are forced to follow government rules so this isn’t just up to them. People in Ringmer have had enough.”

Lib Dem Sean MacLeod, who also represents the village, added: “Ringmer has seen a blizzard of planning applications lately. Residents understandably feel under siege. We all know that we need to build housing locally but everyone is fed up with endless applications that will bring more people but no new doctors surgeries, schools or any of the other infrastructure we need we are not being nimby we just know we have clear infrastructure issues Earwig corner being an obvious one.”

As an outline scheme, details such as layout and house designs would require further planning permission at a later stage.

However, Croudace have included a number of indicative designs to show what the final site could look like. These indicative designs show the sports pitches on the western edge of the site, next to Kings Academy. 

These would include a football pitch, tennis courts, play area, cricket nets and a skate park.

Road access would be via an existing entrance on Lewes Road. The developer also says 40 of the homes would be classed as affordable. 

The application, which was validated last week, follows on from a public consultation held last year.

For further information on the proposals see application reference LW/21/0937 on the Lewes District Council website.