Playden housing rejected

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The development as originally proposed at New England Lane

The Council room was full to standing at the Rother District Council’s (RDC) planning meeting on Thursday May 31 where the New England Lane housing development in Playden was discussed and ultimately rejected.
As previously covered in Rye News, RDC had received an application to demolish a single detached house, plus its paddock, and replace it with up to 24 new homes.
The planners at RDC had already released their initial support for the scheme saying, “this is a finely balanced case. However, it is considered that the collective weight of the benefits of the development outweigh the limited level of harm that would occur to the countryside landscape and the immediate area’s character and appearance.”
While a number of councillors supported the building of new houses to alleviate local housing stress, and on the basis that the government is set to increase local house building targets, the vote went 10, for refusal, and only four in favour.
Objections to the scheme included the density and location of the development and how it would change the character of Playden from a ‘hamlet’ to a more ‘suburban’ extension of Rye.
The developers had stressed that 40% of the houses would be affordable and had agreed to protect and enhance the tree lines that bound the site so there would be limited adverse impact on the countryside landscape.
After an extensive discussion, Rother councillors voted to reject the scheme but were reminded that they had had a similar discussion a few years ago when originally rejecting what is now Valley Park in Rye. When the Valley Park developer appealed against that decision the government Inspector voted in the developers favour. As the discussion drew to a close one councillor mused aloud whether RDC had the £100,000 that would be needed to defend this decision.
Editor’s note: another disputed decision for housing – Valley Park – went to appeal and was won by the developer. The planning officer for this application, in his summary to the Planning Committee, recommended passing it (see above) and has warned that this, too, could be subject to appeal and felt that the Council would need to set aside £100,000 to deal with this eventuality. Whether Rother has the money to be able to defend an appeal is, however, another matter. It is also possible, of course, that bearing in mind this is not the first application to be refused on this site and being aware by now of the very strong local opposition from residents together with local and district councils, the developers might decide that to pursue the matter further would not be worth their while.
 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately, the picture shown with this story does NOT depict the current site layout for this development! The latest design (its third) features an access road ‘spine’ with houses either side. The RDC Planning Committee meeting in question saw an intense debate over this development, with the majority of committee members (10) very bravely resisting the pressures of chairman and RDC planners to vote in favour of rejecting the 24-home housing estate. They should be congratulated for the stand they made to support local people’s serious concerns and to protect a vital strategic gap and green space for Playden and Rye. As the story suggests, this was a “finely balanced case”, but the committee was very concerned at the number of houses planned for the site, the “cramped and dense” layout and even the design of the proposed buildings. There were many other, complex reasons for the rejection of this planning application. RDC had received more than 220 objection letters from local residents and councillors acknowledged the strong opposition to the development from local people. What this article does not portray is the astonishing drama of the committee debate and the even more astounding victory of the objectors’ side after RDC planners had recommended approval. I don’t quite know what the £100k comment has to do with anything, especially when what was more significant was a revelatory comment by one of the councillors that shocked to the core many members of the public present and was worthy of national headlines.

  2. Sadly the green lung between Rye and Playden was lost years ago,when councils allowed Fair Meadow and Mill place to be built, now Playden is just a suburb of Rye,much to the displeasure of the residents of this hamlet.

  3. If Rother District Council concentrated on putting their five year housing plan in place, it would allow them to dictate what is built and where and fulfill their job description of “Planning “ instead of being at the mercy of opportunistic developers targeting the area with their thirty pieces of silver.

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