Comments on Planning Applications

Below is a list of comments made by Westfield Parish Council. Links have been made available to the planning portal where residents can find all of the relevant documents for each planning application. This page will also list the pending applications to be commented on for the next Full Council meeting. Rother District Council is our Parish’s Local Planning Authority. Each week they send the Parish Clerks across Rother a weekly planning list. The most current list can be found by clicking here.

Items to be reviewed at the 13/10/2021 Full Council meeting

  • RR/2021/1864/P – Rose Cottage, Main Road, Westfield TN35 4QE. Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of replacement dwelling. Click here to view application.
  • RR/2021/1698/P – Hop and Hare Farm, Stonestile Lane, Westfield TN35 4PH. Use of land for camping for holiday purposes, including provision of shower and WC cubicles and water points(retrospective). Change of use of agricultural/forestry building. Click here to view application.
  • RR/2021/1746/P – 43 Baldslow Down, Westfield, TN37 7NJ. Proposed ground floor flat roof extension with lantern, alterations and enlargement of existing rear dormer, and formation of pitched roofs over existing front dormer and bay window roofs. Click here to view application.
  • RR/2021/1757/P – Westfield Down – Land At, Main Road, Westfield TN35 4SL. Variation of Condition 2 (approved plans) of planning approval RR/2019/1067/P to allow for revised design of changing rooms building. Click here to view application.
  • RR/2021/1418/P – Restharrow, Moat Lane, Westfield TN33 0RZ. Variation of condition 2 on RR/2020/551/P to allow raising of floor level; raising of West lawn level up by 100mm at the West of the dwelling; provision of fully glazed facade to West elevation; provision of external enclosure to house air source heat pump and refuse bins; reduction in height of building and increase in gross internal floor area of 1.5m2 to 247.5m2. Click here to view application.
  • RR/2021/1888/P – Heather Cottage, Moor Lane, Westfield TN35 4QU. Proposed first floor side extension on top of existing side extension with mezzanine areas. Proposed porch to front elevation. Internal minor alterations. Click here to view application.
  • RR/2021/1927/P – 11 Stablefield, Westfield,TN35 4QW. Proposed single storey rear extension, first floor side extension, enclosed rear facing balcony and internal alterations. Click here to view application.

Items reviewed at the 08/09/2021 Full Council meeting

  • RR/2021/1019/P – Sandhole Farm, Westfield Lane, Westfield TN35 4SA. Removal of timber log cabin and replacement with brick and tiled dwelling for farm manager/owner, change of use of land to residential curtilage and new access road. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: SUPPORT – The Parish Council supports this application.
  • RR/2021/1094/O – Holland House, Hoads Farm, Moat Lane, Westfield TN33 0RY. Certificate of Lawfulness for an existing residential mobile home. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: GENERAL COMMENT – The Parish Council can neither confirm nor deny if the mobile home has been in continuous use as residential for any period of time.
  • RR/2021/1197/P – 1 Stablefields – Land at, Westfield TN35 4QW. Construction of 2no. detached dwelling houses. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: OBJECTS – The Parish Council has considered this application and objects to the proposal. The site is an overdevelopment and inappropriate for this area. Westfield needs to maintain its green spaces to retain its distinctive character of a rural village. This development would be an overdevelopment squeezing two houses on a site which would see the removal of trees, hedgerows and a green space. The development also would have a negative impact on the surrounding properties by overlooking these properties and impacting on their light and privacy. Regarding the access Cottage Lane is already a very busy road particularly at school drop off and pick up when parking and traffic becomes a problem to the point of endangering those who use the road. In particular the school children who also walk to school via Cottage Lane. The proposal to increase any more traffic on this road the Parish Council strongly objects to.
  • RR/2021/1218/P – Hop and Hare Farm, Stonestile Lane, Westfield TN35 4PH. Variation of condition 2 imposed on RR/2018/888/P to amend the roof profile of previously approved agricultural/forestry building and increase one side to two-storey. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: OBJECTS – Council notes the original planning application RR/2018/888/P. The RDC officer noted that the building would be very noticeable in its original design. This new planning application would further increase the roof height and created a bigger impact on the surrounding AONB landscape. This goes against policies DEN1 and DEN2 in the DaSA in accordance with Core Strategy EN1. These policies require development to “maintain and reinforce the natural and built landscape character of the area in which it is to be located” and development within the AONB should be “should be small-scale, in keeping with the landscape and settlement pattern.” The Parish Council feels that this increase in height and change in roof profile does not meet these conditions.
  • RR/2021/1473/P – The Old Chicken Barn, Hoads Farm, Moat Lane, Westfield TN33 0RY. Replace existing chicken barn with 1no detached house on same footprint and raising to accommodate a second floor, however lowering the pitch of the roof to keep the new height to a minimum. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: OBJECT – Council noted that the existing building had walls around 4 inches thick and the whole building was in very poor condition.  This planning application would not be a conversion of the building but a complete replacement.  It was also noted that this site is a commercial site not residential so the Parish Council requests that a change of use is first sought.  There has been no evidence that the site is no longer commercially viable in line with RDC Core Strategy policy EC3 Existing Employment Sites and Policy DCO1: Retention of Sites of Social or Economic Value.  The site is also outside of the development boundary.  The proposed plans contravene with policies in the DaSA Policy DEN1: Maintaining Landscape Character and Policy DEN2: The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  The two storey building would be clearly viable making a dramatic impact on the landscape.  The size is also out of character for the area with some 3000sqft of living space.  Policy RA3 Development in the Countryside also states that “the creation of new dwellings in extremely limited circumstances” and for dwellings they must be “of appropriate size, siting and design.”  This development does not meet any of these criteria.
  • RR/2021/1490/P – Little Down Farm, Main Road, Westfield TN35 4SL. Laying of recycled crush surface associated with the change of use from agriculture to a use for the storage and processing of timber.  Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: OBJECT – In starting discussions about the site it was noted that the address is wrong as this is not Little Down Farm’ it is in fact ‘Downoak Farm’.   There is no connectivity between the site and Little Down Farm which are in fact separated by woodland and mature hedgerows. Councillors also noted that the boundary shown for the application is wrong and the field is in fact lined by hedges and trees and activities are happening on a much wider scale in the area outside of the drawn boundary.  Several of the neighbouring residents have kept a clear log of the regular and completely unacceptable level of disturbance created from this site with the current activities including: 
      1. Activities operating up to seven days a week from the early hours to late in the evening. 
      2. The levels of noise and dust have been at levels which has directly impacted the neighbour’s quality of life. 
      3. The level of traffic down the small country tracks has dramatically increased. 
    • The applicant’s agent cites “Policy DEN2 repeats the objectives for the AONB found in Policy EN1 of the Core Strategy” but does not show how the application is compliant with this policy.  The Council feels the scale of proposed activities on the site and the level of commercial activities as highlighted by the letters and photos received from the neighbours show that this site does not comply with these policies.  The site is in fact having a significantly detrimental effect on the AONB and landscape character as the current operations do not give particular care “to maintain the sense of tranquillity of more remote areas, including through maintaining ‘dark skies” nor is there any evidence to “conserve and seek to enhance its landscape and scenic beauty” again evidenced in the photos supplied by neighbours.  The Parish Council has reviewed all the letters from residents and asks that RDC Officers take into account the many valid planning objections they raise including: 
      • Inaccuracies in the application re boundary and name along with text within the application which one resident has listed in detail. 
      • No clarity for the requirement to use this site for such activities. 
      • The activities are not ‘ancillary’ and in fact are large scale on a commercial level. 
      • The lack of detail in the current or intensification of activities on the site further and for this reason all aspects of the development should be set out. 
      • The non-conformity of planning permission RR/2005/2258/P where the buildings are conditioned, “not to be used for any purpose other than for private recreational purposes & shall not be used for hire or reward.” 
      • The restrictive covenant on the land, which is a common covenant for other properties on the Down oak estate relating to the 9 acres (ESX 293175).  This clearly states “to be a nuisance annoyance or inconvenience to the Transferor or his successors in title or the owners or occupiers of the adjoining or neighbouring land and the remainder of the farm.  Clearly this is not being met considering the number of residents complaining and the level of detail they give on how it is causing a nuisance and impacting on them. 
      • The lack of compliancy with a number of key policies including: 
        1. DEN1 – maintaining landscape character DEN2 – As outlined above. 
        2. The High Weald AONB DEN4 – Biodiversity and green space – Development proposals should support the conservation of biodiversity.  There are no details give how this policy is adhered to and no details on how the site will enhance or conserve the biodiversity of the site.  
        3. DEN5 – Sustainable drainage – No details with the application have been given on managing any run-off from the site on the scale for “greenfield run-off”. 
        4. DEN7 – Environmental pollution – specifically noise in a sensitive area. NPPF states that policy makers must avoid noise from giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life.  From the evidence form the neighbours it would also show that this policy is not being complied with. 
  • RR/021/1611/P – Pattletons Barn, Doleham Lane, Westfield TN35 4ST. Erect rear extension and install new doors. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: SUPPORT – The Parish Council supports this application.
  • RR/2021/1625/P – Tree Tops – Land adjoining, off Cottage Lane, Westfield TN35 4QG. Outline application with all matters reserved for the erection of a single storey dwelling. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: OBJECT – The Parish Council objects to this development for several reasons. Firstly the development is outside the development boundary. Therefore it is not in a sustainable village location. Westfield has a housing target of 85 houses within the DaSA. These housing numbers are being met with the current land allocation. There is no evidence that this planning application supports the wider housing need of the Parish. It is important that the development boundary is adhered to stop urban sprawl into protected areas especially those within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Policy RA2 General Strategy for the Countryside states that the overall strategy is to “Strictly limit new development to that which supports local agricultural, economic or tourism needs and maintains or improves the rural character.” This planning application does not meet any of these criteria. Policy RA3 Development in the Countryside states that new dwellings will only be allowed in extremely limited circumstances: a) Dwellings to support farming and other land-based industries. Normally, accommodation will initially be provided on a temporary basis for a period of three years. Both temporary and permanent dwellings will be subject to appropriate occupancy conditions, and all applications should comply with the following criteria: i. Demonstrate a clearly established functional need, relating to a full-time worker primarily employed in the farming and other land-based businesses; ii. Demonstrate the functional need cannot be fulfilled by other existing accommodation in the area; iii. Demonstrate the unit and the agricultural activity concerned are financially sound and have a clear prospect of remaining so; iv. Dwellings are of appropriate size, siting and design. b) The conversion of traditional historic farm buildings in accordance with Policy RA4; c) The one-to-one replacement of an existing dwelling of similar landscape impact; or d) As a ‘rural exception site’ to meet an identified local affordable housing The current planning application does not meet any of these requirements. Policy DEN2: The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) states “All development within or affecting the setting of the High Weald AONB shall conserve and seek to enhance its landscape and scenic beauty. This planning application does not meet these requirement as it is outside the development boundary, provides an important green space within the area to maintain the open rural characteristic of the lane. It would also have a great impact on the wildlife and biodiversity of the neighbouring protected trees due to the close proximity to the proposed retained trees. It is likely that significant root damage would be caused during the development along with disturbance to the local wildlife. Although there is a ‘right of way’ across the frontage of Tree Tops this is only to access the land. There is no permission to lay down a permanent road into the adjoining land nor is it suitable in its current state to support regular vehicle access or any heavy duty vehicles. If officers visit the site it is clear the access into the site is next to a steep bank also making the regular usage for vehicles not sustainable as this would in time undermine the bank itself. The proposed access also runs along side the 1066 footpath. Increased vehicle traffic down this road on a well-used footpath should be strongly discouraged in favour of walkers of this route.
  • RR/2021/1647/P – Little Hides Farm Cottage, Stonestile Lane, Westfield TN35 4PH. Change of use from land that is non-compliant with agricultural occupancy to curtilage of an existing residential property. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: GENERAL COMMENT – The Parish Council sees no evidence of why it is necessary it increase the residential curtilage of this property as none has been submitted. The land is agricultural so Council questions whether this needs a change of use from agricultural to residential with all the relevant evidence for such a change. The applicant states they are “seeking the change of use…to increase the size of the curtilage and keep the whole scenery of AONB intact; this is in line with paragraph 115 of the NPPF in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.” However there is no evidence of how this is achieved. Until these matters have been addressed the Parish Council asks that the RDC Officer seeks to defer any decision until further evidence has been obtained to answer these questions.
  • RR/2021/1824/P – 3 Cottage Mews, Main Road, Westfield TN35 4QE. Proposed alterations including garage conversion, enlargement of existing rear raised decking and erection of garden shed. Click here to view application.
    • Parish Council Comments: SUPPORT – The Parish Council supports this application subject to no neighbours being overlooked.
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