Decision on development near Ninfield delayed over concerns at height of new homes

A picture of one of the proposed new homes
A picture of one of the proposed new homes

Wealden planners have deferred making a decision on a housing development near Ninfield due to concerns around its design and layout.

On Wednesday (June 5), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south considered a reserved matters application to build 13 houses at Potmans Lane in Lunsford’s Cross.

The scheme has already been granted outline planning permission but details of its design have proven to be contentious, with a previous reserved matters application being refused as planners judged it to have too many large four bedroom houses for the area.

While planning officers had advised the committee the latest application had overcome these previous concerns, members felt more needed to be done to improve it.

Cllr Roger Thomas (Con, Heathfield South) said: “The height of [three of the] four bedroom houses is out of place. I couldn’t support them on this site with those three there.

“If the developers could put something smaller in at that end I would then not be annoyed, but I think this is totally wrong for this road.

“I think the mix is actually quite reasonable and on a different site the whole thing would work. But on this one, with those three at the height they are, I certainly cannot support it.”

Several other councillors also raised concerns about the height of the buildings proposed.

Cllr Bob Bowdler (Con, Horam and Punnets Town) described the design as being “unsympathetic” to the rest of the road and said he was unhappy with its scale.

Meanwhile Cllr Pam Doodes – who is not a committee member but spoke against the scheme as ward councillor – criticised the ‘uniformity’ of the scheme, saying it was out of character with the rest of the road.

Cllr Doodes (Con, Herstmonceux and Pevensey Levels) also criticised the scheme’s layout, pointing out that houses were grouped together by size down the line.

In light of these concerns, planning officers suggested the committee could defer the application to allow developers to alter the designs.

Putting this forward as a proposal, Cllr Johanna Howell (Con, Frant and Wadhurst) said: “I am concerned about the last few houses and the scale of the roof and ridge heights.

“As with everybody else I do think that is a particular problem and it is not appropriate in the road.

“I do think I would be happy to defer this application to negotiate a reduction [in height].”

Cllr Howell also asked for officers to consider restricting permitted development rights as part of the proposals, in an effort to reduce the impact of further development on the surrounding area.

Following further discussion the committee agreed to defer in order for planning officers to negotiate with developers over the design and scale of the houses.