Three major development issues in Burwash – redeveloping Rectory Court, development plans for land off  Shrub Lane and development plans adjacent to Strand Meadow – have been the focus of community interest in recent years. Scroll down this page for latest updates.

Rectory Court

The redevelopment of Rectory Court in Burwash is getting close to completion. Optivo Housing Association has reported that the the four shared equity homes for sale on the High Street have been handed over by the builder and are now being marketed. One home has already been reserved.

The flats for rent being built to the rear of the site are scheduled to be complete by January 23. Progress has been delayed by the poor weather.

Burwash Parish Council has been closely involved with the design and style of the project since the old site was vacated in May 2014 and subsequently demolished. The Council and the community rejected original plans characterised by a design using sub-optimal materials and which was completely out of keeping with the historic nature of the conservation area which covers most of Burwash Village High Street. The Council was determined that the design of the buildings must complement other buildings and not clash with them.

A suitable design was eventually agreed with developers Optivo, the housing association which was founded in May 2017 following the merger of two other housing associations: AmicusHorizon, which operated the old Rectory Court site,  and Viridian. Work on the the project to provide 15 one-bedroom rented flats for older residents and four two-bedroom shared equity houses began in early 2018. To apply for one of the tenancies, would-be residents will first need to register with Rother District Council. The Optivo website is here.

Optivo has published regular updates on progress on the site, excerpts of which can be seen below.

Update, November 5, 2019

Update September 18, 2019

Update August 19, 2019

Update July 9, 2019

Update June 10, 2019


Land to the North West of Shrub Lane, Burwash

Denton Homes have withdrawn their appeal against Rother District Council’s refusal of their planning application to build 42 dwellings on a site to the north west of Shrub Lane.  Please click here for the Appeal documents.

Original plans by Denton proposed over 50 homes on the site but were withdrawn following objections from residents, the Parish Council and community groups.

Here are the Parish Council’s objections to plans to develop the site.

Here is the letter from the Parish Council about its role at the appeal by Denton Homes against rejection of its plans by Rother District Council.

Here are documents relating to the site that have either been sent to the Parish Council or displayed at public meetings. They may refer to an earlier proposal for 45 units but are still relevant

Strand Meadow

The rejection by Rother District Council of a plan to build 30 homes on Watercress Field, near Strand Meadow, has been upheld following an appeal by the developers.

Park Lane Homes lodged the appeal after Rother District Council planning committee – in January, 2019 –  unanimously rejected the developer’s proposals, which were supported by Rother’s own planning officers. The appeal was dismissed in July, 2019, by planning inspector Graham Chamberlain.

Over 400 objections to the Park Lane scheme were lodged by individuals and organisations when the most recent planning application for the site was made.

The Appeal Reference is  APP/U1430/W/19/3223824. You can see this online here.


On January 17, 2019, RDC planning committee unanimously refused the application for the development, which was supported by Rother’s own planning officers.

The committee cited the development’s poor design, which members said was uncomplimentary to the rural setting, the character of Burwash and the AONB status of the area.  The design was also judged highly inaccessible due to the number of steps throughout the properties, particularly for people using prams or in wheelchairs.

The committee also cited the lack of clarity and agreement around the developer’s arrangements to meet their Section 106 commitments in relation to factors such as the proposed footpaths, the suitability of the proposed ‘Parish Land’ for recreational or allotment usage, ecological and agricultural issues and Rother’s own ‘review mechanism of the costs and values’.

At the planning meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2019, there was much talk about the developer’s lack of engagement with the community and the Parish Council.

Mr Robert Banks spoke on behalf of residents of Strand Meadow, the Save our Fields group and the Parish Council.  He outlined the numerous issues with the site itself and gave detailed reasons why the application should be refused, including the problems with the proposed design.

Rother Councillor Eleanor Kirby-Green highlighted the site’s lack of viability and the fact that the Parish Council had continuously rejected the application.

The proposal by Park Lane Group to develop 30 dwellings on land at the end of Strand Meadow, running across the back of Burwash village playing fields, obtained outline planning permission in 2018. Ahead of a Planning Committee meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2019, RDC officers recommended the development in full with a ‘later stage’ S106 which meant that the development would be reviewed once 50% of the houses had been sold to see what price they would actually go for.  RDC officers accepted the full loss of the affordable housing on this condition.

Over 60 parishioners attended a Parish Council EGM in August 2018 to express their views on the Strand Meadow proposals.

Key Documents