Playden: ‘town’ or ‘country’

The development as originally proposed at New England Lane

Passionate opinions were voiced on Thursday August 3 at the monthly meeting of the Playden Parish Council where a new housing development was discussed.

The development up for discussion would see 24 new houses replace a single detached house plus its paddock on New England Lane.

Playden’s Women’s Institute was packed with concerned residents voicing opposition to the proposed development. Also present was Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council and much of the debate hinged on whether Playden was the right setting for such an ‘urban’ concentration of houses.

The hall was crowded for the meeting

Concerns were also raised on access and increased traffic that the development would generate because the proposed development is at the corner of the single track New England Lane and the busy A268 Rye Road.

Further concerns, such as noise and light pollution, over-development, and increased water run off were also raised.

While Playden is a separate parish from Rye, and it is not included in Rye’s draft Neighbourhood Plan, some voiced the concern that such a dense development would open the way for more housing along the Rye Road and further join the two towns together.

The makeup of the development was discussed, whereby over 30% of the homes would be classed as affordable housing. Therefore of the proposed 24 houses, five will be affordable rented and three will be shared ownership.

To date, East Sussex County Council is split in its opinion. Keith Glazier pointed out that while the highways team had yet to submit a formal decision, they would not be opposing the development on the grounds of inadequate access. In contradiction, the archaeological team are currently recommending refusing the scheme because not enough evidence has been submitted that the site isn’t of archaeological importance.

Prior to the meeting Rother District Council (RDC) had received over 30 written responses, all with varying degrees of opposition. A number of submissions pointed out that a proposal in 2004 for one additional house on the site was rejected by RDC because it wasn’t in keeping with the rural setting.

Playden Parish Council concluded that they are strongly opposed to the application and urged residents to respond with their comments before the deadline.

The full planning application can be found here.

Photo: Gerard Reilly


  1. As a Parish Councillor in Iden I am only too aware of the considerable pressures for new homes in our village as in others such as Playden. We also have a very tightly drawn development envelope and any applications outside of this are automatically refused.
    Against this background we have a chronic situation where young people are unable to afford homes of their own and rented accommodation becomes increasingly expensive.
    Whilst everyone would like to retain the chocolate box character of our villages, sooner or later we are going to have to realise that unless we relax our planning rules, we could very well be faced with considerable social unrest from those who cannot get onto the property ladder, resulting in draconian political impositions from a government sympathetic to their cause. Objections then will count for nothing.
    Whilst I can see the logic of refusing such a large development in Playden, It was disappointing to read the report of the meeting and the comments on the Rother planning site that there were little, if any concerns expressed about the implications of doing nothing or any suggested alternatives to solving the housing shortages in our villages. Frankly, we are presiding over a ticking time bomb.
    I fear that present attitudes will only ensure that those who sow the wind will in due course reap the whirlwind.

  2. Dear Micheal – there are so many undeveloped brownfield sites in the Rye area which are surrounded by an urban environment, and suited to new housing estates. Given the choice – everyone will feel at ease if the supply of affordable homes is alleviated, but not by placing a new housing estate on a field which is surrounded by the boundaries of An Area of Natural Beauty. There are so many options and by commenting on people’s apparent’short-sightedness at the meeting is rather unfair.

  3. Thanks for the article. With respect, Mr Miller’s defeatist comment astonishes me. You’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Young people are unable to afford homes, it’s true, but there are few jobs available in Rye and neighbouring villages and so demand is minimal. The point Playden residents made at the meeting was that the housing estate development in question is totally inappropriate for the village setting and for the environment. It flies in the face of Rye Town Council and Rother DC’s avowed strategies on keeping a strategic gap between Rye and the villages. Appropriate development, evolving in an ‘organic’ fashion, should be the goal for Rye and surrounding villages. The spectre of young homeless workers protesting in village streets is a ridiculous one. We don’t all own 4- or 5-bedroom houses with attached fields in Iden. Mr Miller, if you do own one of these, please could you take in a couple of homeless agricultural labourers that I know? I suggest that Mr Miller takes a straw poll of Iden’s residents and asks them if they’d be happen for a new housing estate in Eden. We should NOT relax planning rules, we should strengthen them. The whole problem affecting planning and development in the UK has been caused by central government’s abject failure to develop a proper population policy. The population keeps rising and rising and nothing is done to stop it. The SE of England — already the most highly populated area of the UK — should be allowed to reject further development, rather than having it forced upon them by government.

  4. it’s good to see that Mr. Miller’s own field is so well protected up there on the moral high ground, sheltered by a five bedroom detached house from the whirlwinds of the great unwashed and guarded by his lapdog Scotty !

  5. Sorry NIMBYs of Rye, your days are numbered Where do you think all those people are going to live when they extend the HS1 to Hastings and the place becomes a proper commuter town? There’s a housing crisis in this country – where is everyone supposed to live? Next to the chemical works down at the harbour? At least your house prices will go up….or not…

  6. What needs to be looked at is WHY we’re suffering this planning mayhem, nationwide. Who or what has caused the housing crisis? The answer is a lack of demographic policy and an uncontrolled population surge that has seen our numbers rise to 65.6M. Also the trend for more people living alone or as couples with no kids. Shark-like developers, taking advantage of laxer government planning policy, have glided into feeding frenzy mode. A small historic place like Rye, with perhaps 1,600 houses, is being asked to accept a further 455 by 2028, an increase of more than a quarter. The very character of the town will be changed for the worse. It’s not a question of ‘nimbyism’, it’s a question of the right housing in the right place. Sensible development proposals should be considered, but this isn’t one. Central government lacks the creativity and desire to solve these and other problems — they ARE solvable with political will. The area proposed for this housing estate is rich in archaeological, historical and environmental importance. It borders an ancient ‘hollow way’ or sunken lane, many centuries old. Significant amounts of Roman, Neolithic and medieval artefacts have been found in the immediate area. There are a number of other issues. The so-called ‘seeds of resentment’ being nurtured in younger people are the result of the polarisation of our society into the ‘haves and the have-nots’, the exodus of much of our manufacturing to China/Asia, uncontrolled ‘cowboy capitalism’ and a housing/rental market that’s spun out of control. An average house in London now costs 20x the average wage. As for high-speed rail, if that every comes to Rye, the town as it now is will be finished.

  7. Cloaking the greed of developers and land owners in worthy concern about the plight of ‘young people’ is disingenuous.

    Most of the houses sprouting in the fields and gardens around Rye are of the wrong type and in the wrong places to be of any use to ‘young people’. For the most part, they are bought by people fleeing the mess that has been made of our cities, which are where most young people prefer to be as they build their careers.

    I know one isn’t supposed to mention it ‘in polite society’ but, between 1997 and 2010, the last Labour government allowed 3.6 million foreign migrants to settle in this country. It is believed that 240,000 homes will need to be built every single year for the next for the next 25 years to ease the shortage and that, of those, one house will need to be built every four minutes simply to accommodate immigrants and their offspring (figures from Migration Watch UK, and not seriously contested).

    Complaining about a housing shortage while trying to pretend either that this didn’t happen or isn’t a significant factor (and continues to be under our present supine government) is textbook cognitive dissonance. And I admit to having played my part in this process, being married to an immigrant myself, and being a refugee from London.

    Address the state of our cities, stop importing the problem, build on brownfield land in places where ‘young people’ want and need to live, and the pressure on rural spaces will ease considerably. And please, politicians, stop virtue signalling about it while making things worse.

  8. This small proposal has opened a can of worms so I will try to limit comment. First the suggestion that ‘ it’s all these foreigners causing the housing crisis’ is ludicrous. (Other than absent owners leaving thousands of empty properties, especially in London).
    Secondly I have to be political. I wrote in 2010 to our MP warning of consequences of a laisez faire housing policy. She passed my letter to the then Housing Minister, remember Grant Shapps? His reply was that the Conservative Government had ‘no intention of interfering in the private housing market.’ The Market cannot respond to such problems, proved by events.

  9. I have recently become alerted to this proposed development in New England Lane. My initial thoughts are why ever not? After all, it’s a brown field site. Also it’s refreshing to see a proposal for mixed housing including social housing amidst a relatively wealthy area of Rye. Normally social housing is built in poorer areas which just stigmatises the less well off and renters even more and separates areas in a small town such as Rye into the wealthy and not so wealthy. This is 2017 for goodness sake. I agree with Lucifers Dog. This is a splendid revolutionary (for Rye!) area to build such housing on.

  10. Heidi Foster

    Michael Miller has a point though it’s of course easier when you don’t live in the close vicinity of a development.I agree with Lucifer’s dog, August 5th. While I understand the concerns and anger of the New England Lane Community, to suggest going somewhere else in Rye is like saying “not in my back yard” but someone else’s.

    We need more housing for local residents of any age and no doubt more building plans will spring up elsewhere around Rye, Playden is not the only area which might have to deal with it. Rather than totally rejecting it why not ask for less housing and decent infrastructure to cope with more traffic which, considering it is on the corner, will mostly use Rye Hill.

    Len Saxon gives some reasons for the national housing shortage. I would like to add that selling most of the Council accommodation by the Conservative Government and recently allowing renters to buy their Housing Association accommodation, thus losing a lot of affordable housing stock and not building any new housing, has greatly contributed to the present situation.

    In terms of Rye, the number of second homes being left empty or for holiday let does not help locally and yes, we are afraid of losing the beautiful, historic Rye atmosphere now with the numbers of expected house builds (government driven), wait for the arrival of high-speed rail, (which I am against, it would be better to use money, costing less, to make the present system better and get the two railway companies to talk to each other so we don’t miss the Rye train at Ashford just as we hit the platform running) Rye will become a different town which is not to say we don’t welcome newcomers who contribute to the Rye fabric of living but it is an unknown.

    I know a few of my friends disagree with me about some of the above but that makes for interesting discussions.


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