Plans for 183 homes between Westham and Stone Cross supported by councillors

Amended housing plans
Amended housing plans

Plans for a major housing development between Stone Cross and Westham have been approved by Wealden planners subject to amendments and further consultation.

On Thursday (January 31), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south considered a reserved matters application to build up to 183 homes on the Uplands Farm site in Rattle Road.

Prior to the meeting taking place developer Taylor Wimpey submitted amended plans for the layout of the site, leading to a recommendation for further consultation from planning officers.

The council’s head of planning Chris Bending said: “Members will remember that in the original committee report we recommended approving the application subject to a series of amendments.

“Within the last couple of days the applicant has sought to amend the application to deliver the large majority of the amendments sought by officers. There are, however, a couple that remain.

“There have been amended plans but they have come in the last 48 hours. That hasn’t given the parish council and public to comment on those plans.

“So the recommendation is that, subject to agreeing further amended plans, we will then go out to further consultation with the parish council and the public as you would expect.”

Mr Bending said the further amendments related to the layout of the kitchen and living rooms of the affordable housing on site. Council policy is for the rooms to be separate due to health and safety concerns.

In light of Mr Bending’s comments, the committee agreed to grant planning officers the delegated authority to grant planning permission.

This would only happen if the amendments sought by Wealden planning officers were agreed. Otherwise the decision would be brought back to the planning committee.

Backing the decision, local member Kevin Balsdon (Con, Pevensey and Westham) said: “As we are all aware this is a reserved matters [application]. The principle of the 183 dwellings has already been agreed in 2017.

“This comes to us today to agree the layout. Even though we’ve had considerable amendments to this quite late it does seem slightly premature for us to make a decision.

“However I am assured by the planning department via Mr Bending that most of the amendments are actually very minor.

“I have got every confidence that the planning department here will do the right thing and will put into place what this committee wishes.

“We can delegate the decision to the planning department knowing that if there is anything they think is not correct, it will come back to committee.”

Before reaching its decision, the committee heard that the site would include 64 affordable housing units, to be managed by a registered provider.

The committee also heard the site includes an ‘overprovision’ of parking spaces, meaning more parking spaces will be available than the level recommended by East Sussex Highways.

Concerns about the proposals have been raised by Westham Parish Council, which objects on the grounds it would create a ‘considerable overdevelopment’ of the site.

The parish council also raised concerns about the increased pressures on local infrastructure and the environmental effects of construction on the area.

A initial planning report said no objections had been submitted to the application by local residents. However an officers’ update confirmed 16 letters of objection had been received in time for the meeting.

Further details of  the application can be found on the Wealden District Council planning website by searching for reference WD/2018/1757/MRM.