Controversial housing application refused

Telahm Farm. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
Telahm Farm. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

A controversial application seeking outline planning permission to build houses on a greenfield site in Telham has been refused by Rother District Council this week.

Developers had been seeking outline permission to build up to six semi-detached houses on the site in Hastings Road, which is currently part of the nearby Telham Farm.

In their application developers said the homes would help meet a ‘pressing need for housing in Battle’. A spokesman for the developer said: “The current proposal has demonstrated how it will not have a harmful effect on the AONB and have addressed the concerns of the Inspector who dismissed the appeal in 1987.

"The scheme will comply with the local and national policies which do not preclude development in such areas, and it will help meet the pressing need for housing in Battle.”

However Rother planners disagreed with the developer’s claims, finding that the development would be ‘environmentally and socially unsustainable’.

The scheme had also proven unpopular with local residents, with planners receiving 32 comments of objection including from members of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Battle Town Council. Concerns raised by objectors included fears surrounding highway access and safety including the volume and speed of traffic on Hastings Road.

Concerns were also raised over the loss of greenfield land in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and that toxic waste from the demolition of Glyne Gap gas worksmay have been dumped on the land which could contaminate nearby streams and agricultural land if disturbed. Planners said the land in the application, while not itself used to dump the contaminated waste, was close enough to the landfill site to require a risk assessment if planning permission were granted.

In recommending the scheme for refusal, a Rother planning officer said: “The development would make a modest contribution to the district’s and town’s housing supply but that benefit is considered to be significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the harm caused by an environmentally and socially unsustainable form of development.

"As such, the negative elements outweigh the positive aspects of the proposal.”