Bexhill MP calls for housing development to start

Huw Merriman SUS-180208-131239001
Huw Merriman SUS-180208-131239001

The town’s MP has called for work to start on a major housing development.

Huw Merriman penned a letter this week to Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive of Bovis Homes, asking the company to make good its commitment to build the new homes.

In November 2015, Rother District Council granted outline planning permission for the development on Worsham Farm, north of Wrestwood Road, which will include up to 1,050 new homes.

The Bexhill to Hastings Link Road opened in December 2015 and was seen as the first stage of a major project to open up land for housing and commercial space.

Mr Merriman said: “I am frustrated the new homes anticipated by the Link Road have not yet materialised more than two-and-a-half years on from the road being completed. These homes are much-needed. If these are not built then other less suitable areas in the constituency are at risk of being developed.

“I have again called for the Government to start charging developers for council tax a year from the planning consent being granted, and not from the time the homes are occupied. I have also asked for local authorities to be given the right to compulsory purchase land from developers two years after planning consent has been granted. If Bovis will not build it out then others should bid to do so.

“Constituents paid their council tax to finance this road. It was an example of delivering infrastructure before housing. I hope this letter to Bovis drives them to put a shovel in the ground and start delivering what they proposed some years back.”

As well as the proposed new homes, the scheme includes 7,000 sqm of business floorspace, a primary school, children’s nursery, commercial premises, community building and a sports pavilion.

The plans also include the demolition of farm buildings and structures currently standing on the site, with the exception of the historic main barn and attached annex at Lower Worsham Farm and historic walls at Upper Worsham Farm.

The development includes three access roads leading onto the site from the Gateway Road, open space and amenity green space.

The whole development will be spread across approximately 57 hectares of land.

When the proposals were first unveiled, objectors raised various concerns, including the impact the development would have on infrastructure and concerns about traffic.

A spokesman for Bovis Homes said: “In response to Mr Merriman’s letter, we can confirm outline planning consent has been given for 1,050 homes on the site. Additionally reserve matters consent, which is detailed planning, has been granted for the first 200 homes, of which 30 per cent will be affordable homes.

“Archaeological work is currently underway with a view to start construction later this year.

“A senior member of Bovis Homes would welcome the opportunity to meet with Mr Merriman to provide the full background to this development and the associated community benefits, and will be responding to his detailed letter accordingly.”

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