Three-bedroom chalet style bungalow in Pevensey Bay refused by inspector reversing previous decision

A planning inspector has refused proposals for a new build in Pevensey Bay, marking the end of a long-running planning and legal battle.
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In a decision notice published on Wednesday (April 5), a planning inspector has dismissed proposals to build a three-bedroom chalet-style bungalow on land at 189 Coast Road, due to the site’s position within a high probability flood zone.

The inspector’s decision was a redetermination of the proposals, after a previous appeal decision from March last year was quashed by order of the High Court.

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Both decisions had turned on the application of a planning process known as the sequential test. In simple terms, this is a process through which developers need to show that there are no sites with a lower risk of flooding which could be built out first.

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Application site

On one hand, it was argued that the proposals had cleared this hurdle, because no sites within Pevensey Bay had a lower risk of flooding (as the majority of the village falls within the same Flood Zone 3 category as the site).

Wealden District Council, however, had argued that the test should have been applied to a much wider area than just the village. This was the view the council held when refusing the initial application in May 2021.

The planning inspector in the original appeal found in favour of the application, saying it would not be possible for the dwelling to be located in a lower flood risk area within the community, before concluding that the benefits of the scheme would outweigh these risks.

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But this matter was revisited following the intervention of the High Court, leading to a second planning inspector coming to a different conclusion.

In coming to their conclusion, the inspector noted that parts of Pevensey Bay did fall within a lower flood risk area and that there was not strong evidence to show these sites could not be developed instead.

The inspector also noted Pevensey Bay’s “limited supply of social and economic infrastructure”. In other words, the inspector found that residents would not be able to fulfil all of their needs (such as employment) without travelling outside the village.