Opponents to the controversial Barnhorn Green development in Little Common were left stunned when it was approved yesterday.
Rother District Council’s planning committee voted in favour of allowing Marchfield to put in 275 homes on a greenfield site of 60 acres north of the A259.
The homes will be a mix of flats and houses, and there will also be offices and industrial units which it is hoped will generate new jobs.
There is provision for a doctor’s surgery, retirement complex, and primary school premises.
Residents fear all this will change the face of the village and several councillors argued passionately their case.
One was Stuart Earl who said: “This application is not just wrong, it is corporate vandalism for commercial greed” and warned impact would be “catastrophic”.
Cllr Joanne Gadd, who represents St Mark’s ward, had “deepest sympathy” with residents living there.
Cllr John Lee felt there were three main concerns - the site was outside the boundary for developement, traffic was a problem, and that Little Common had “a very strong sense of community” which would be badly affected by the development.
Sidley’s Cllr Maurice Watson argued in support of new housing, opportunity and jobs and said: “Planning is the future. This is the moment in time this committee can make it happen. Do not mess this up for short term gain.”
The need for Rother District Council to provide 1,000 new homes in Bexhill by 2026 was raised by Cllr Sam Souster who added it would be “difficult” to go against the application.
Campaigners afterwards were “very disppointed with the outcome” according the Linda Hallett of SayNo2Barnhorn Green.
She raised their worry the decision had been influenced by possibility of a future appeal by Marchfield if the application was refused. Members had highlighted this outcome because of the cost in defending it with an inspector’s decision likely to go in favour of development in line with central government policy and the National Planning Police Framework.