Plans for a housing development near Horam have been turned down at appeal.
In a decision notice published last week, a planning inspector has refused proposals to demolish a property, known as Great Easterfields, in Chiddingly Road and build nine houses in its place.
The application was initially refused planning permission by Wealden District Council in February last year, with planning officers concerned about the density of the proposed development.
In a report at the time, a Wealden planning spokesman said: “This scheme is not acceptable and falls short on design and layout grounds. The arrangement of development is compact and reads as forceful and imposing, with too many units proposed.”
They added: “It is also the case that the arrangement of units will adversely affect the amenity of neighbours to the site, largely due to the quantum of growth.
“Overall, even taking into account the significant shortfall in housing land supply, the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole and it is recommended that planning permission is refused.”
The applicant disputed this view, arguing the site was ‘underutilised’ and that Wealden’s housing shortfall meant the scheme should have a presumption in favour of approval.
The applicant also noted how the site had previously been considered a suitable site for up to ten dwellings as part of the council’s Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, 2019 (SHELAA). This document had formed part of the evidence base for the emerging local plan at that time, but has no formal status.
Ultimately, however, the planning shared the council’s concerns about the proposals, concluding the scheme would harm the character and appearance of the area.
In their decision notice, the planning inspector said: “The support for the principle of development within the [National Planning Policy] Framework is countered by the importance it places on the provision of development that preserves character and appearance.
“In this instance, the harm would be both significant and enduring. As a result, when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole, the adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.