Decision due on Sedlescombe children’s activity centre

Controversial proposals to create a children’s activity centre in Sedlescombe are set to go before Rother planners next week. 

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:03 pm

On Thursday (March 11), Rother District Council planners are set to consider an application  to open an activity centre at the former Pestalozzi site in Ladybird Lane. 

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The application comes from PGL, an organisation which provides school activity courses and summer camps at a number of locations around the UK.

Former Pestalozzi Village, Sedlescombe

Planners had originally been due to decide on the application in August 2020, but the scheme was withdrawn shortly before going before the committee in light of some late representations.

Since it was first submitted, the application has undergone some significant changes, with its scale and layout being reduced and rearranged. The changes also include the use of green roofs on some of the buildings and the use of natural acoustic fencing.

In a report recommending the application be approved, a Rother planning officer said: “There are some similarities between the proposed PGL use of the site and the former Pestalozzi use – as expanded by the 2008 planning permission – in that they aim to provide residential training courses for young people.

“However, in the case of PGL the use would be seasonal and the nature of the training experience based rather more on outside activity, including the use of specially constructed activity bases.

“The current application proposal has merit in that it utilises a vacant and partly previously developed site. 

“Moreover, the application has been amended from that originally submitted to reduce the scale of the development and to introduce mitigation measures in respect of the main areas of concern.”

While recommended for approval, the application has seen significant opposition from local residents.  

These include some 1,030 individual letters of objection have been received, although this includes multiple letters from the occupiers of the same properties at various stages of the application process. 

Many of the objectors argue the activity centre would generate significant amounts of noise and, due to the number of guests, result in a major ‘intensification’ of the site.

In addition there was a petition signed by 90 people objecting on the grounds the proposals would significantly change the use of the site as well as have an unacceptable impact on the High Weald AONB, surrounding ancient woodland and general biodiversity.

For further details of the scheme see application reference RR/2019/1659/P on the Rother District Council planning website.