Housing plans for former Rye school site

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Proposals for a major housing development in Rye are to go before Rother planners next week. 

On Thursday (November 14), Rother District Council’s planning committee are to consider an application to build 63 homes at the former Thomas Peacocke School site in Ferry Road. 

Significantly, the proposed scheme will not include any affordable housing on viability grounds, although developers Plutus will be expected to make a £77,948 contribution to provision of affordable housing off-site.

Despite this the scheme is recommended for approval by planning officers. In a report to the committee, a planning officer said: “It is considered that a development of high design quality is proposed that meets planning policy requirements.

“The inability of the development to achieve the values to provide affordable housing on-site is disappointing, but this issue has been scrutinised and the provision of affordable housing on site would prevent what is an otherwise acceptable housing development proceeding.”

The proposed plans would see 38 houses and 25 flats built on the site and include the demolition of the former Queen Adelaide pub. 

Also known as the Lower School site, an earlier version of the application had sought permission for 72 homes, but this was revised down to 63 in amended plans. 

While of a smaller scale than the original plans, the amended scheme has seen a number of concerns raised by residents and local groups.

A total of ten objections were lodged against the amended plans (and 22 objections to the original), with concerns including the development’s impact on wildlife, protected trees and highway safety.

Residents also described the proposed scheme as an overdevelopment – a view shared by Rye Town Council.

The town council also raised concerns around the safety of the access to the site and the capability of local infrastructure to cope with additional housing.

Both Rye Town Council and the Rye Conservation Society also objected to the scheme over its lack of affordable housing.

In a design and access statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for the developer said: “The proposals for the land at Ferry Road, Rye, have evolved and developed as a result of a rigorous analysis of context, constraints and opportunities.

“We consider that the scheme represents a well considered design of the highest quality which is befitting of the site and its surroundings, and will make a positive contribution to the existing local character.”

If approved by the committee, the scheme would be approved subject to conditions and a legal agreement to secure highways works and a contribution towards affordable housing off site. 

For further details of the proposals see application reference RR/2017/1778/P on the Rother District Council website.