Villagers protest housing proposal

Residents attending the housing drop-in session. Photo by Charlotte Boulton Photography. SUS-150728-094818001
Residents attending the housing drop-in session. Photo by Charlotte Boulton Photography. SUS-150728-094818001

An eighty-strong Village Action Group of East Chiltington residents attended a consultation to discuss plans to build houses on Hollycroft Field.

The area was included in the list of 30 sites Lewes District Council proposed for new housing developments, much to the dismay of local residents who use the area as an unofficial village green.

The plans include building 36 terraced houses on Hollycroft Field, alongside the existing 20 houses adjacent to it.

A drop-in consultation session was held at the village church last Tuesday (July 21) to give residents the chance to ask questions about the plans to representatives from Lewes District Council and Karis, its development partner.

A spokesperson for the Village Action Group said: “The Village Action Group questioned the development for a number of key reasons.

“Building on this scale goes against all principles of sustainable development and against numerous local and national planning policies.

“The Hollycroft Field is East Chiltington’s only communal green space and recreation ground were people come together for fetes, villages parties and to play sport. It is the only point of reference for community cohesion and social life in a dispersed parish.

“There are not sufficient local amenities to sustain an influx of 36 new households into such a rural settlement. There is no shop, no school, no train station, an intermittent and inadequate bus service and a single lane track running in and out of the hamlet.”

The Lewes District Council information document on the Hollycroft Field site states: “We know there is significant need for affordable homes in the rural northern area of our district. A 2012 survey found there were no affordable one-bedroom properties in 12 rural parishes in the District and 382 local households have applied to our housing register specifically requesting housing in rural areas. A Council review found evidence a lack of available and affordable housing is affecting businesses as well as families.

“East Chiltington is within the South Downs National Park (SDNP), which means sensitive and sustainable design is essential. The SDNP acknowledges affordable housing is a “major issue” for the park, while maintaining rigorous design, environment and sustainability standards.

“Our initial ideas are to build around 36 architect-designed, council-owned homes but these numbers will be determined in consultation with the community.”

To have your say on the proposed development, email or phone the team on 01273 471600.

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