Controversial Ninfield housing development approved

Proposed layout of new Ninfield development
Proposed layout of new Ninfield development

Proposals for a major housing development in Ninfield have been approved by Wealden planners.

On Thursday (March 28), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south approved an application to build 55 homes at Ingrams Farm in Bexhill Road on a site which had previously been granted outline planning permission.

While recommended for approval by planning officers, the application has proven to be controversial with Ninfield Parish Council and many village residents, partly due to an alternative application being put forward for the site.

Addressing the committee at the meeting, Ninfield Parish Council chairman Kay Crittell said: “The reserved matters process for this site has been both confusing and frustrating for both the parish council and residents of Ninfield.

“With two competing applications being submitted for consultation and various updated designs to be compared and commented on we have been given no time for anybody to look in detail and cross-reference.

“Is anyone really clear on they are being asked to approve and more importantly who will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the required amendments?

“Should you be minded to approve this incomplete application we urge you to ensure all conditions, as set out in the outline planning [application], will fully discharged and to request a final layout drawing  is made available.”

Cllr Crittell’s call for a final layout came in response to concerns raised by officers about the proposed layout – including the amount of parking spaces to be provided.

Officers, however, recommended the application be approved subject to minor amendments.

She also argued that the previous conditions, contained in the outline application, had not been adhered to by developers.

But planning officers said planning conditions can only come into effect once development commences.

The committee also heard arguments in favour of the application from Christopher Hearth, a planning consultant for developer Rydon Homes.

Mr Hearth said: “This is a reserved matters application for the scale, appearance, layout and landscaping of this development site.

“Outline consent was granted and the principle of residential development accepted.

“It was controversial, as all greenfield village extensions are, but outline consent has resolved that issue and the new local plan confirms the status of the site for housing development.

“Remaining objections to the principle of development therefore need to be set aside.

“The extensive amendments made to the initial scheme are listed in the officers’ report and in some cases represent compromises the applicants have reluctantly accepted and in others there is an agreement the scheme has been improved.

“The conclusion of your officers is that, with amendments, the scheme is now acceptable to them.”

Following a short discussion the reserved matters application was granted subject to further conditions.

For further details see application reference WD/2018/1732/MRM on the Wealden District Council website.