Decision due on backland development in Pett Level

Location plan for the proposed new homes
Location plan for the proposed new homes

Controversial proposals to build backland housing in Pett Level are to be considered by Rother planners next week.

On Thursday (June 20), Rother District Council’s planning committee is to consider an application to build two new homes in the garden of a property known as Warren Cottage in Pett Level Road.

The application has proven to be highly controversial, with the council receiving 70 letters of objection over the plans, as well as a 50-signature petition.

Objectors raise a number of concerns, including; fears of overdevelopment, the potential impact on wildlife and ecology as well as safety concerns over the proposed access arrangements.

Planning officers, however, are recommending the proposals be approved, saying the issues with the site can be overcome through additional planning conditions.

In a report to the committee, a council planning officer said: “Understandably concerns and objections have been raised as to how the introduction of the new dwellings will impact on surrounding residents; not least as houses will be located in a currently undeveloped backland area.

“This backland siting alone is not a reason for objection and notably there are several other ‘backland’ situations in this area, including Warren Cottage itself.

“While undoubtedly the outlook of the nearest neighbours will change … neither new house, nor the garage … is sited unreasonably close to the site boundaries.

“Therefore, it is not considered there will be any harm to neighbouring amenities, including in respect of overlooking, outlook and loss of daylight/sunlight.”

Planning officers also say concerns around the road access to the site are not sufficient grounds for concern, as it is already used to by an existing property.

The additional traffic from two new houses would ‘not be such as to justify refusal’, planning officers say.

The view is not shared by Pett Parish Council however, with its planning committee raising concerns over congestion and safety at its junction with the main road.

However, developers argue there are no significant reasons to refuse planning permission.

In a design and access statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for the developer said: “The land is within the established Development Boundary for Pett Level and is not within the area of the High Weald AONB.

“In accordance with… the National Planning Policy Framework permission should be granted unless any adverse effects significantly outweigh any benefits.

“This planning statement demonstrates that there will not be any significant or demonstrable adverse effects should the development proceed.

“In conclusion, we consider that these proposals show an appropriate level of development that will not harm the area.”

For further details of the scheme, see application reference RR/2018/1644/P on the Rother District Council planning website.