Update on consultations about the latest draft development proposals for Watercress Field

A series of presentations about the latest draft plans to build 30 homes on Watercress Field  – the site at the end of Strand Meadow – were attended by 76 people.

Asked to comment on the plans by developers Park Lane Homes, 68 people completed feedback forms. Two were in favour of the plans while the remainder were against.

A public consultation with the architects of the new scheme was held on Wednesday 8th January  in the Parish Room (Internet Café) in The Bear car park, Burwash. The presentation materials were available to the public in three sessions later that month.

Following extensive local opposition, led by Burwash: Save Our Fields, the previous proposals were rejected unanimously by Rother District Council and, in January 2019, by a planning inspector after an appeal.

Issues raised by residents at the latest sessions included:

  • The housing proposed does not meet local need – it is not social housing and there is not even ‘affordable housing’
  • Accessibility to the village by any method other than by car is challenging
  • Traffic issues in Strand Meadow
  • Traffic issues on Shrub Lane
  • Concerns about impact on residents of Rother View
  • Impact on the AONB
  • The house designs are ‘suburban’ rather than rural
  • The site is overdeveloped
  • Steepness of the site
  • Ground Water present at the site

The feedback has been shared with the architects as agreed.

76 people attended the sessions with the largest number being 46 on the Wednesday where the architects were in attendance. The developers were not represented at any of the sessions.

Many residents have been concerned about the lack of materials available. The Parish Council has been in contact with the architects about obtaining an electronic copy of the Pre-Application Enquiry Supporting Document but have had no response. Extra copies have now been printed off for residents to view either at the Internet Café or the Parish Council Office.

Residents will be able to comment directly to Rother District Council once the formal planning application for the scheme is submitted. This is expected soon. The Parish Council has resolved that it will consider the application at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).

For those interested in the sorts of standards expected for new developments in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can click on the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee design guide here.

The latest Park Lane proposal is for 28 houses and 2 flats. There will be 22 three-bedroom houses, seven properties with two bedrooms and one single-bedroom flat.

None of the proposed housing will be ‘affordable’ according to the government’s definition of 80% of the market price.

The architects have said that all the proposed developments will be two-storey and set lower in the site than previous proposals.

Burwash Save Our Fields have already drafted a response to the proposals. Click here for details.

Click here for more background.

There remains outline planning permission for 30 houses on the site. To see a pdf overview of the new plans click here.

On the 26th November the architects presented the initial new set of plans to the Planning Committee of Burwash Parish Council. You can read the minutes of that meeting here.