Proposed Cottage Lane Development

Thank you to all of the residents who attended the Parish Council meeting on the 13th July. Many residents came to highlight their concerns about the proposed development. Details of RR/2022/1118/P can be found here.

Due to the level of interest of this planning application this page has been created to update residents update on progress.

We have been made aware that the pink notice went up the day after the Parish Council meeting on the 14th July. This means that residents have until the 4th August to submit a comment.

Councillors voted to OBJECT to this planning application. The item has already been called into the Rother Planning Committee. The full letter can be downloaded here:

Westfield Parish Council’s Objection Letter for Planning Application RR/2022/1118/P

Details on how residents can speak at the meeting and make a comment on any application can be found by clicking here. This information was put together following the feedback from residents on the evening. These concerns included:

  • This is not a small scale development for a rural community in the AONB.
  • The preliminary ecological assessment notes that the site has potential for endangered species.  Therefore fuller reports and surveys should be carried out even with outline planning to determine the true impact on the local protected wildlife.
  • Potential loss of an agriculturally rich site that could be used for sustaining agricultural.
  • Changing character of the village from a rural community to an urban sprawl which is not supportive of the AONB landscaping.
  • Whilst Rother does not have a 5 year housing supply this site is outside the development boundary. 
  • Open green spaces help maintain the characteristics of the AONB landscape rather than creating unlimited urban sprawl into the AONB landscape.
  • Increased risks of flash flooding for existing properties who already experience this.  Current drainage mitigation does not address these issues in full.
  • The flood attenuation for the rainwater – has only been assessed for 1 in 100 flood. The Parish Council would request expect at least 1 in 500 year flood, albeit normal practice now is to plan for a 1 in 2000 year flood. The Parish Council feels this is really important as the neighbouring properties note that they are already suffering from flooding. This will be made worse by the proposed development if they do not plan for flooding at the right level.
  • The traffic survey was not conducted during busy times in particular school drop off and pick up.  Whilst this is particularly relevant for the primary with many cars parking along Cottage lane it is also relevant to those parents taking children to catch secondary school transportation out of the village.
  • A small country lane with no light or continuous footpath from the site to the village amenities does not make for a sustainable development here.
  • Significant increase of traffic on the country lane which would not support such additional traffic.  End point exit onto the A28 will either be from the already congested Cottage Lane/A28 or turn right up to Mill Lane A28 junction.  Both exit points onto the A28 have significantly reduce visibility therefore increased usage/traffic at these junctions should be avoided or significant traffic improvements put in place.
  • The Drs surgery is already significantly down in Drs and unable to recruit during the last 12 months.  Current patient Dr ratio has gone from 1,170 patients per GP Partner to 2,116.  This is without taking into account the increases from the Westfield Down site (39 houses) and Moorhurst.  If Moorhurst goes ahead the Drs will have to close their lists to any new residents within the parish.
  • Insignificant parking provided for the housing.  56 potential cars and potentially more for the 4 bed properties.
  • Proposed affordable housing does not meet the need for Westfield Parish.  In July 2021 housing need was for 28 one bedroom properties.  Any 3 or 4 bedroom properties need should be met from the Westfield Down development.
  • No sustainable options for employment for families moving into the Parish.
  • Impact of light pollution due to the elevated position of the site.
  • Plots 1, 2 and 3 will all significantly overlook properties across the road due to the elevated position of the site.
  • Proposed entrance will create significant light pollution to the existing properties on the other side of the development on Cottage Lane effecting their quality of life on a daily basis.
  • Concerns that if such a development is allowed which is not sustainable this will set a president for further infilling of valuable agricultural land.  The end effect will be a significant impact on the village within the AONB  allowing people to potentially apply for ‘infill’ developments.
  • In Monkhill Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government & Anor (Rev 1) [2021] EWCA Civ 74 Sir Keith Lindblom, Senior President of Tribunals, rejected a case brought by developer Monkhill against the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Waverley Borough Council. When the case reached the High Court, Holgate J concluded paragraph 172 “is also capable of sustaining a freestanding reason for refusal in general development control in AONBs, National Parks and the [Norfolk] Broads”. Sir Keith said Monkhill’s main contention was that merely giving ‘great weight’ to ‘conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty’ in an AONB does not provide a clear reason for refusal and that whether planning permission should be refused requires a balancing of all considerations. The judge said: “Elegantly as those submissions were presented…I cannot accept them. “They do not, in my view, reflect an accurate understanding of the policies we are considering and the way in which those policies are intended to operate. I think Holgate J was right to reject them, for the reasons he gave. I agree with him that the inspector’s decision is not flawed by a mistaken interpretation, or unlawful application, of relevant policy.” Westfield Parish Council therefore feels in balance the lack of housing supply does not give reason to allow development within the AONB outside the village’s development boundary for a unsustainable development.

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