Developers who wanted to build more than 20 homes in an historic Domesday village have this week had their appeal against planning refusal dismissed.
In May last year, applicants were refused outline planning permission by Rother District Council (RDC) to build the 24 houses on the Shellfield site in New England Lane, Playden.
The application had proven controversial with many Playden residents, who raised objections to the scheme due to concerns about the size of the proposed development and the potential impact on traffic in the area.
The council received 223 letters of objection about the scheme while a petition was signed by a total of 32 people.
And in May last year, Playden residents, including actor Clare Holman, of ITV crime drama Lewis, staged a protest opposing the development plans.
This week, HM Planning Inspectorate said the developers’ appeal against refusal was dismissed.
David Worwood, one of the objectors, said: “This planning battle has been going on for two years and it has been an enormous effort by residents to fight the developer and to eventually win against huge odds. It’s a fine example of ‘people power’. Playden is an historic village mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and residents wanted to see it remain as a separate settlement from Rye, rather than coalescing into one large conurbation, which is what would have happened if the planning application had been approved.”
In the report the Planning Inspectorate said the proposed development would prove too dense and cramped and that it would have a ‘harmful effect on the character and appearance of the area’.
It said: “For a site on the edge of a town, the options for sustainable transport modes would be limited. This is reinforced by census data for the local area which indicates that less than a third of existing residents use non-car modes of transport for work purposes. Therefore, occupants of up to 24 houses would be rather distant from many day-to-day services and facilities and would be more reliant on the private car to access them.”
Last year, despite the recommendation for approval from planning officers, councillors on the council’s planning committee voted to refuse the scheme. The final vote saw four councillors in favour of it and eight against.
The committee said the development appeared to be ‘overly dense’, as well as ‘detrimental to the landscape setting and historic identity of Playden village’.
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