Burwash housing development proposal rejected

News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174846001
News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174846001

A scheme to build more than 40 new homes in a village were thrown out by Rother District Council.

Developers applied to the authority to build 42 houses on land north west of Shrub Lane in Burwash.

The proposal was recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers but councillors sitting on the authority’s planning committee refused permission at their meeting last Thursday (October 12).

A petition opposing the plans was made by Robert Banks, representing Burwash: Save our Fields from Concrete (BSoFCC). More than 450 people also objected to the scheme.

Those unhappy with the proposals feared the development would harm the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) where the site is located.

Objectors added additional housing was not needed as 30 new homes had already been granted elsewhere at Strand Meadow.

Councillors at last Thursday’s meeting said the development would put a heavy strain on village infrastructure and increase traffic and pedestrian hazards both at the site entrance, along Shrub Lane in both directions and at the steep junction onto the A265.

Cllrs John Barnes and Eleanor Kirby-Green, addressing the committee, described the development as ‘major’ in the context of a small village.

The case for refusal was proposed by Cllr Sue Prochak and seconded by Cllr Gary Curtis on the grounds of the damaging impact to the AONB, the incapacity of physical infrastructure and issues of Highway safety.

In support of the developers, Eve Ladden-Timbers of PRP, said the scheme was well-designed and would deliver much-needed properties, including 16 classed as affordable homes.

Ahead of last Thursday’s meeting, Rother District Council received 20 letters from people in support of the development. They also said the new development would provide a new recreation area for Burwash, which needed the homes to boost businesses in the village.

After the meeting, Mr Banks said: “Rother councillors served the community well by rejecting a speculative development in Burwash’s glorious AONB.

“Residents made clear they wanted suitable genuinely affordable homes and not the suburbanisation of their mediaeval village.”