Burwash Common housing development on former nursing home site approved

A housing development in Burwash Common has been given the go ahead by Rother planners, despite concerns from council officers.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 4:07 pm

On Thursday (August 12), Rother District Council’s planning committee approved an application to demolish the former Ashwood Nursing Home in Heathfield Road and build 12 flats and houses in its place.

The scheme has a complicated history, having previously been before the committee in May after developer Artemis Design and Build Ltd lodged an appeal on the grounds that no decision had been made within the statutory time limit.

At that hearing the committee (going against the officers’ recommendation) resolved not to contest the appeal as they felt the scheme was broadly acceptable in principle and urged the developer to resubmit an application to avoid the appeal process.

Ashwood Nursing Home in Heathfield Road

The applicant did so, but officers said this resubmission had raised new issues – to do with technical information on flooding and air quality – which pointed to refusal.

This recommendation did not sit well with the applicant’s planning agent Helen Greenhalgh, who said: “After the decision members made in May our client took the opportunity to submit a duplicate application which you hope would be decided quickly and positively so the appeal could be withdrawn therefore saving both parties time and expense. 

“We were pleasantly surprised when the second application was validated quickly, however latterly astonished at the decision of officers to ignore the May resolution and not only recommend the second application for refusal for the same reasons suggested before, but also to add two further reasons for refusal which could easily be dealt with by conditions.

“We consider the officers’ approach, trying to reopen matters on the first application which has already been determined and clearly minuted to be entirely unreasonable.”  

Ms Greenhalgh went on to say her client would accept further conditions to address the new concerns raised, but said it was unclear what justification the council would have for requesting such measures.

The committee’s position on the acceptability of the scheme appeared unchanged from the previous hearing, with its members quickly agreeing to grant planning permission as long as appropriate conditions were put in place.  

After making their decision the committee also confirmed it would still not contest the appeal, should it continue.

The development proposed would include a block of four flats, a terrace of three houses and a pair of semi-detached dwellings. It would also include a detached dwelling and two detached self-build plots. 

A 20-space car park is proposed for the flats and six of the houses to be accessed via an existing entrance on Swing Gate Hill.  The self-build plots would be served by a new access road to be built on the northern part of the site.

For further information on the proposals see application reference RR/2021/1608/P on the Rother District Council website. For further background information on the appeal see application reference RR/2020/1798/P.