The inspector approves Wivelsfield Green’s housing plans

A housing development on the edge of Wivelsfield Green has been approved after a planning inspector overturned a decision by Lewes District Council.

In a decision notice issued on Wednesday (September 21), a planning inspector has approved rough proposals for the construction of up to 45 homes on the South Road property.

Despite a recommendation from officials for approval, the project was unanimously rejected by Lewes District Council’s Planning Committee back in April. It was rejected on the grounds that the project would fall outside the village’s development boundary and would have “unacceptable and adverse effects” on the area.

Both of these grounds for rejection were recognized by the planning inspector, but concluded that the disadvantages were outweighed by the relative lack of housing in the district. National planning policy in these circumstances requires a “presumption in favor” of new and sustainable development, they said.

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In their report, the inspector said: “The ‘tipped’ balance introduced by the presumption in favor of sustainable development requires that planning permission be granted unless the adverse impacts significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

“In my view, when weighed against each other, the moderate disadvantages do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the advantages, particularly in relation to the increased housing supply. It follows that a building permit should therefore be granted.”

While they overturned the committee’s decision, the inspector did not find that the council had acted “inappropriately” in rejecting the scheme. As a result, they didn’t award the costs demanded by the developer.

Despite this, the decision was met with dismay from both local residents and city councillors

Council deputy leader Zoe Nicholson (Greens) said: “It is a tragedy that the government’s planning inspector has overridden the views of the local people and treated local democracy ruthlessly.

“This development was opposed by local people, it was opposed by Lewes District Council planning [committee] and yet, in support of the government’s build-build agenda, the inspector has given this development approval.

“They are using the government’s standard method for the number of houses they want to build on our villages and green spaces as the main reason for overruling the local population.

“We will be urging Liz Truss to honor her promise to overhaul the government’s Planning Inspectorate to prevent it from flouting local government and residents.”

For more information on the development see application number LW/21/0754 on the Lewes District Council website. The inspector approves Wivelsfield Green’s housing plans

Fry Electronics Team

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