Our volunteer District Officers (DOs), Liz Thomas and Jennifer Chibnall, spoke at the National Park planning committee meeting earlier in March 2020 against a proposal to build large glass and timber clad tower houses on this site which was allocated in the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan to meet local housing need. The National Park planning officers had recommended the proposal be accepted even though the development didn’t include any affordable housing. The expensive ‘novel’ design was offered as reason why none of the houses could be affordable. Liz Thomas drew attention to the precedent set by a High Court case in London which rejected such building on sites that has been designated for affordable housing.
There was much criticism of the design, in particular from the chair of the Planning Committee, both for its unsuitability in this Lewes Conservation Area and it being so expensive in its construction that the applicant argued this precluded affordable housing. As a result, the officer recommendation was rejected unanimously by the committee, and the application refused. Click the links below to see our DOs in action and the Chair’s excellent dissection of Conservation Area purposes. He held that any development in a Conservation Area, must respect and reflect the original reasons for the designation saying – it was not sufficient to argue a development was “good architecture” in isolation and it must be framed by the reasons originally set out for the area to be conserved.
In November last year our East Sussex district officer team visited Swanborough Manor in East Sussex. We all agreed it was very interesting to look around and inside this unique historical building which started life in the 11thC as the grange to the nearby Cluniac (St Pancras) Priory in Lewes. But that wasn’t our main purpose. We were reviewing the threat to the landscape setting of such historic building caused by nearby developments.
Our Society believe the area around a listed building should be treated with special regard especially when it comes to constructing anything nearby. Anybody applying for planning permission to alter or construct a new building in the vicinity of a listed building should demonstrate how they are protecting the ‘setting’ of a listed building. This applies to Grade II listed buildings and moreover to Grade I buildings.
Development have been underway for some time in the conservation area at Greatham near Pulborough in West Sussex. Last year the developer made a planning appeal against a refusal relating to the Granary in Greatham (West Sussex), adjacent to the Grade II Greatham Manor listed building. The Friends of the South Downs District Officer David Coldwell & Policy Officer Vic Ient made a visit to the neighbouring property, Greatham Manor to investigate planning issues raised with our Society by the residents. We were concerned at what we saw, and subsequently we submitted the Society’s objection to the planning inspector. Much of the case hinged on the impact that the proposed development would have on the listed buildings adjacent to the Manor (Grade II) and the Grade 1 listed church nearby. We were very pleased to learn recently that the inspector agreed with all the objections he had received, and roundly rejected the appeal. A small success in the protection of the setting of listed buildings!
At the South Downs National Park’s planning committee meeting on 8th August, the Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society) challenged the National Park in five key areas over a planning application for a large commercial and housing development North of Buckmore Farm, Beckham Lane, Petersfield consisting of a just under a 5,000sqm business site and a residential site for up to 85 residential houses*.
This is what the Society’s Policy Officer, Vic Ient, said to the committee on Thurs 8th August: Click here to see the SDNPA Video recording Also using this link you will be able to see the full debate and presentation.
The Friends of the South Downs believe that there is not a rising demand for ‘soft sand’ and that we see no reason why further sites should be allocated in West Sussex; especially those in the National Park.
What’s at stake? The review shortlisted 9 sites. 7 inside the National Park and 2 just outside (starred *) the Park:
Buncton Manor Farm (new site), Washington
Chantry Lane (Extension), Storrington and Sullington*
Coopers Moor (Extension) Duncton
Duncton Common (Extension) Duncton and Petworth
East of West Heath Common (Extension) Harting and Rogate
Ham Farm (new site) Steyning and Wiston*
Minsted West (Extension) Stedham with Iping
Severals East (new site) Woolbeding with Redford
Severals West (new site) Woolbeding with Redford
These, as well as those soft sand sites previously considered during the preparation of the Joint Minerals Local Plan, will be assessed for their suitability for potential allocation. The ‘soft sand review’ sets out three main issues for consideration which are:
the need for soft sand;
the strategy for soft sand supply; and
potential sites and site selection.
The review relies solely upon the ‘Local Aggregates Assessments’ (LAA) to predict ‘needs’ from 2019 to 2033 (14 years). This LAA also relied up historical sales of the material to assess annual demand alongside the usage and to extrapolate future demand.
Re: SDNP/18/06103/OUT, Old Malling Farm, Old Malling Way, Lewes, BN7 2DY: Outline approval for residential development comprising up to 226 dwellings with associated landscaping and parking, with access from Monks Way (All Matters Reserved except Access and Layout).
The Society objects to the development in its present form. We believe that the current plan should be referred back to the developer so that the road layout and access arrangements can be reviewed along with the submission of a revised sustainability assessment. Accordingly, the application should be deferred so that improvements to the application can be made.
Response from the South Downs Society (Friends of the South Downs).
The ‘Friends of the South Downs‘ is the membership charity, working to campaign, protect and conserve the landscape of the National Park.
These are the views of the District Officers – who respond to planning consultations and Local Planning Issues on behalf of the Society.
We do not consider that the scope of drilling exploration fits within the definition of permitted development. It has landscape impact and restoration consequences; archaeological implications; aquifer implications; earth tremor implications for historic structures; and traffic implications on rural roads that may need Grampian conditions to alleviate. This is well beyond the scope of permitted development even if the permission is time limited.