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Planning

Abbreviations used:-

LPA – Local Planning Authority.  This will almost invariably be Lewes District Council or the SDNP Authority.
LDP – Lewes District Council.
NPPF – National Planning Policy Framework.
PMG – Project Management Group dealing with the Neighbourhood Plan.
SDNP – South Downs National Park Authority.
WPC – Westmeston Parish Council.

WPC does not have the power to approve or refuse planning applications.  Neither does it have the expertise or resources to comment upon matters of policy, rules or regulations.

Rather, we comment from a local point of view on matters of impact, longevity, quality of external design and pragmatism.

Full details of all planning applications can be found on the planning portals of Lewes District Council (applications with a reference commencing “LW”) or South Downs National Park (applications with a reference commencing “SDNP”).  These can be found at:-

http://planningpa.lewes.gov.uk/online-applications

or

http://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications

respectively.

When visiting one of these sites you may find it easiest to choose a “Simple” search.  You can then just insert the reference number of the application as noted below and full details will be displayed.

Full details of any assessment carried out by WPC are not published on this website for reasons of security.  Should you require more information about an assessment, please do not hesitate to contact WPC using the email form provided in the Section “Contact”.

In carrying out assessments, WPC will seek to to be fair and transparent and work with the applicant in a positive and proactive way, in line with the NPPF.

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Planning Applications:-

SDNP/18/04155/FUL Application to build a large single dwelling on Keymer field in the Strategic Rural Gap

Objection by Westmeston Parish Council

This application has been appraised in detail and is being strongly objected to by Ditchling Parish Council (DPC) on the grounds that it  directly contradicts the wishes of the local community for local development set out in the Beacon Parishes Neighbourhood Development Plan for Ditchling, Streat and Westmeston recently approved and adopted by local referendum. After detailed consideration of the application, Westmeston Parish Council  has come to the same conclusion. 

DPC has set out a very detailed appraisal of how the application should be considered in the context of the tests to be met in section 79 (formerly paragraph 55) of the National Planing Policy Framework (NPPF) and the relevant policies of the Neighbourhood Development Plan. Again, after much consideration, WPC supports this appraisal. The application to build on this site should not be granted.

1. Section 79 of the National Planing Policy Framework (NPPF)

Two key features of the appraisal under the NPPF are that section 79 is one of the very few exceptions within the NPPF that would allow a development outside the settlement boundary in the countryside.  The second key features of this appraisal is that houses developed under this clause are very rare because the majority of such applications do not meet the section's very rigorous tests. And this is without the additional rigor that  applies within a National Park, where the bar is set even higher.

As the Local Planning Authority (LPA) will be aware, there is close precedent.  A proposal for a paragraph 55 house within the South Downs National Park (SDNP) made in 2016 was refused permission both by the local planning authority (East Hants) and the Planning Inspector (on appeal). This application has many parallels to the Ditchling application. It was for a large, environmentally sustainable dwelling on the edge of a historic hamlet beyond its settlement boundary. The Planning Case Officer recommended that the application be refused permission for the following reasons:

It is not accepted that the use of existing technologies to provide a highly sustainable dwelling would override the very high bar in terms of protecting and enhancing the National Park countryside, which is a local and national policy requirement

Whilst it may be an outstanding form of design, it is not a design that would sit comfortably in this traditional hamlet in the South Downs National Park

Whilst the NPPF does allow for isolated rural dwellings, this proposal would add to an existing hamlet and the contemporary design does not reflect the traditional rural character of the area. The proposal would therefore not be sensitive to the defining local characteristics of the area.

The inspector’s ruling at Appeal (refusal) stated that whilst there was much to commend about the quality and innovative nature of the house's design", he could not allow it to be built in the proposed ‘sensitive’ national park location.  

2. Relevant Neighbourhood Plan Policies

The proposed development is not in one of the housing development sites set out in the Neighbourhood Development Plan and is outside the settlement boundary. The site directly abuts the historic Conservation Area. The site is in a National Park. To approve the proposed development would be to undermine the recently approved Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Development outside settlement boundaries

Policy DS1 (2), Development Strategy, sets out a list of exceptions under which development might be permitted outside the settlement boundary provided it also complies with relevant policies in the Development Plan.

After careful consideration, Westmeston Parish Council, agrees with DPC. It is felt this application does not meet any of these exceptions.  Moreover, as Westmeston does not have a formal 'settlement', any new development in Westmeston would be on a  rural exception site.  This only intensifies the importance of maintaining the rigour of examining applications proposing to build outside of settlement boundaries. 

Protection of the strategic rural gap

The protection of the strategic rural gap between Ditchling and Hassocks/Keymer is a specific objective (1.6.2 (IV)) of the Neighbourhood Plan. It reflects the concern expressed by residents in the questionnaire commissioned for the formulation of the Plan.  CONS7  is the policy designed to protect the strategic rural gap. CONS7 was discussed in draft with and supported by the SDNPA during the early stages of preparing the Plan. A similar policy was included within the Hassocks Neighbourhood Plan, which signifies the widespread local concern about future erosion of this gap through development. 

WPC shares the view with DPC that if an application for a dwelling within this area were to be granted permission this would over time lead to the inevitable destruction of the rural gap between Ditchling and Hassocks/Keymer. Such a permission would contradict the explicit policies and objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan, undermining and weakening its ability to help protect the gap from future applications to build as the rural land that constitutes the gap was progressively diminished.

Local Housing Provision

The proposed development is for a large single house on an enormous site which does not help to meet Ditchling's housing needs based on starter homes and affordable housing as set out in the Neighbourhood Plan. 

Conservation of the historic and built heritage of the village

The rural landscape is the essential setting for the historic heart of the village which forms the Conservation Area.  The proposed development directly abuts the Conservation Area. The development would neither enhance the character of the rural landscape nor bring any benefit to the local community. 

3. Conclusion

The developer has argued that the proposed development is an outstanding, innovative design, environmentally sensitive and technically advanced.  And so it may be. But the design is not the key issue.  The site is of strategic importance in maintaining the rural gap and setting, the character and integrity of the village. 

The proposed development flies in the face of the Neighbourhood Development Plan, its policies and its objectives.  The application to build on this site should not be granted.

To approve the proposal would be to permit a development to irreparably change the character of the village at the expense of the local community and to the detriment of the future of Ditchling.

The proposed development should not be granted permission to be built.

 


SDNP/17/01358/FUL | Proposal for 40 space public car park to be constructed on a small agricultural field including provision for cycle stands x 3 No and partial removal and replanting of hedgerow at Keymer Road, Ditchling. | Land adjacent Pumping Station Keymer Road Ditchling East Sussex BN6 8TR    

Although we realise this is in Ditchling we feel it may be of interest to everyone who uses the village for the Post Office etc..


    

SDNP/17/01024/FUL | Erection of cattle building and installation of earth-bunded outdoor silage clamp and farmyard manure store | Stocks Farm Spatham Lane Westmeston BN6 8XJ            

WPC response 6th April 2017

SDNP/17/10124/FUL Stocks Farm

Westmeston Parish Council, having taken note of relevant facts and information in the interests of local residents in Ditchling and Westmeston, including the applicant, must trust the judgement and expertise of SDNP in reaching their decision arising from their Environmental Assessment.   Westmeston Councillors are aware of the concerns of local residents in relation to traffic matters and the visual impact of the proposals.   The Environmental Assessment should address these concerns.   

In the absence of proven detrimental material planning considerations, Westmeston Parish Council supports the application.   

I shall be grateful if you will acknowledge receipt of this message.

Christine Swan MBE   -    Clerk to Westmeston Parish Council.    


SDNP/16/06360/HOUS 2 Hayleigh Farm Cottages 

Proposal: Replacement timber framed garage and store

Closing Date for comments: 1 February 2017

Case Officer:   Mrs Alyson Smith

This proposal is within the South Downs National Park. The application will be dealt with and determined by Lewes District Council, acting as an agent for the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), unless it is 'called in' by the SDNPA

 


SDNP/16/05342/PRE Westmeston Farm:  Conversion of farm buildings to 4/5 terraced houses with garages and landscaping.

This is a “pre-application” and no further information is available at this time.

 


SDNP/16/04770/FUL Old Cart Lodge Hayleigh Farm Streat Lane

Proposal: Removal of a former agricultural cart lodge and erection of a dwelling house with garden and two parking spaces

Closing Date for comments:        17 November 2016

Case Officer:  Chris Wright

This proposal is within the South Downs National Park. The application will be dealt with and determined by Lewes District Council, acting as an agent for the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), unless it is ‘called in’ by the SDNPA

Application refused Thursday 23 Feb 2017


SDNP/16/01023/LIS April Cottage. For the retention of PVC Conservatory

Westmeston Parish Council has examined the application and associated documents.

Due to the passage of time during which no evidence of objections from neighbours past or present is apparent, and that no discernable negative impact  has been perceived, we have no reason to object to the continued existence of the development.

We therefore make no comment or statement intended to influence the Planning Officer’s decision.

update - Application refused.


SDNP/16/02270/HOUS Westmeston Farm.  Replace garage and store.  Re-build on original site, slightly larger footprint, for garaging and garden machinery store on ground floor. Roof space to accommodate farm office.  No change of use.  Improved materials.

Westmeston Parish Council has examined the application and considers that having made comment on the previously withdrawn proposal, there is nothing more to add. The decision is based on the new proposal being within the parameters  previously agreed as having minimal impact on the neighbourhood.


LW/15/0895 Notice of Prior Approval for Change of Use  At Land South Of Kidds Acre Farm Hundred Acre Lane Wivelsfield East Sussex (submitted 9 November 2015)

Prior Approval from AGR to Dwellings for Prior approval for building operations reasonably necessary to convert an Agricultural Building to a Dwelling House

At Land South Of Kidds Acre Farm Hundred Acre Lane Wivelsfield East Sussex

Parish: Westmeston

to be carried out in accordance with Plan and Application No. LW/15/0895 submitted to the Council on 9 November 2015.


SDNP/15/04972/HOUS |Submitted 22 September 2015

Demolition of existing detached garage building including farm office, and erection of a detached building with rooms above comprising garage and machinery store with self contained studio flat, home fitness room and a replacement farm office ancillary to the use of the residential dwelling known as Westmeston Farm, Westmeston Farm The Street Westmeston


Planning Applications SDNP/15/03104/TCA and 04042/TCA St Martin’s Church, Lewes Road. 

These applications are a formality in dealing with works to trees in the church yard which is within both the SDNP and the Westmeston Conservation Area.  The works have already been agreed with the appropriate Case Officer. There is no role for WPC.

 


Planning Applications LW/15/0688 and 0639 Land south of Kidds Acre Farm and known as Spring Farm, Hundred Acre Lane.

Submitted 27 July 2015.

These applications relate to the change of use of an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouse) and the resultant design and building works.

An assessment has been made and WPC encouraged LDC to approve both applications subject to certain issues.

WPC has no further role to play.

LW/15/0639 was refused on a technicality.  If it is re-submitted it will be reported here.

LW/15/0688 was granted 13 October 2015.


Planning Application LW/15/0607 Land East Of Ditchling Road, Wivelsfield.

Submitted 17 July 2015.

This application is NOT within the Parish of Westmeston.

The application is for the Erection of 95 new dwellings, with the provision of two new bus stops, associated pedestrian and cycle access via Blackmores, landscaping and parking. 

The application, as such, has not been assessed but the implications for Ditchling, Streat and Westmeston as regards traffic generation are part of a process being followed by the PMG dealing with the Neighbourhood Plan.

 


Planning Application LW/15/0534 Bothers End, Hundred Acre Lane.

Submitted 25 June 2015.  Granted 10 August 2015.

This application is for the removal of the existing garage building and it’s replacement with a new, oak framed, building which will be larger. 

WPC encouraged LDC to approve it. 

WPC has no further role to play.


Planning Application LW/15/0488 Bothers End, Hundred Acre Lane.

Submitted 10 June 2015. Granted 27th July 2015

This application is, in effect, for the use of the existing roof space as bedroom accommodation.  There are no external alterations.

WPC encouraged the LPA to approve it.

WPC has no further role to play


Planning Application  SDNP/15/01921/HOUS. The Old Rectory, Lewes Road.

Submitted 20 April 2015.  Granted 21 July 2015.

This application involves relatively minor alterations to the existing, modern, parking barn but also an extension to that barn to provide flexible "lifetime" accommodation.

WPC encouraged the LPA to approve it.

WPC has no further role to play.


Planning Application SDNP/15/01979/FUL  Michelend, Lewes Road.

Submitted 12 April 2015.  Granted on 3 June 2015.

Revision to the extension previously approved as SDNP/13/02500/HOUS.

WPC encouraged the LPA to approve it.

WPC has no further role to play.


Planning Application SDNP/15/02369/HOUS.  Windrush, Underhill Lane.

Submitted 13 May 2015.  Granted 21 July 2015.

Alterations and extension.

WPC has no further role to play.


Planning Application LW/14/0797  Kidds Acre Farm, Hundred Acre Lane.

Submitted 15 October 2014.  Granted 9 January 2015.

Conversion of former agricultural building to residential use.

WPC encouraged LDC to refuse it.

WPC has no further role to play.


WPC Documents Dealing With Development Planning.

©WPC September 2015 WPC Practice on Assessments of Development Proposals

This is the Guide to how WPC Planning Committee carries out assessments of development proposals. It notes the process that will be followed.

If you are a Westmeston Resident, please let us have your comments by using the email form provided in the Section “Contact”.  Or contact a WPC Councillor or the WPC Clerk.

© WPC September 2015 WPC Practice on Assessments of Housing Proposals

This is the Guide to how WPC Planning Committee carries out assessments of housing development proposals. The process used for assessments generally will be followed.

However, this document notes the type of questions we will ask ourselves when considering if Westmeston Residents can be expected to accept any form of impact that a proposals might have.

If you are a Westmeston Resident, please let us have your comments by using the email form provided in the Section “Contact”.  Or contact a WPC Councillor or the WPC Clerk.

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