Thakeham Homes, Bishops Lane
Appeal APP/P1425/W/22/3313204 (application LW/21/0694)
Thakeham Homes - Land opposite Bishops Close, Ringmer
Thakeham Homes are proposing 68 dwellings in this greenfield site between Clarks Croft and Potters Field.
The FIRM deadline for submitting objections to the Planning Inspectorate as an Interested Party is 27th July.
Here’s the link Reference: APP/P1425/W/22/3313204 (planninginspectorate.gov.uk)
For comments to count they need to be NEW/resubmitted comments to the appeal. Thank you if you made comments to the planning committee who refused the application – unfortunately those comments do not roll over so new comments need to be submitted to the appeal.
Please read through this guide for tips on points most likely to sway the Inspector towards refusal. Pick the ones that appeal the most to you, add your owan and please use your own words!
The best points to make – It’s a really Bad Design
These points are the most likely to persuade the inspector to dismiss this application but there is a danger that Thakeham could just come back with a new, less offensive, design that would then be difficult to refuse. We suggest you use these but include points from other categories too.
- Three-storey development. Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan policy 9.1 states that ‘Houses of more than two storeys are generally inappropriate in a village setting’. This application proposes 3-storey blocks on the highest part of the site, at its countryside edge, taller than any nearby buildings, and immediately adjacent to a public footpath.
- Affordable housing. The greatest current housing need is for affordable-rented housing. Neighbourhood Plan policy 6.2 seeks to maintain this and reads: Policy 6.2: Where new affordable housing is included within a market development the majority of the new units shall be 2-bed or 3-bed houses suitable for young families. Only 16 affordable dwellings are proposed, 14 of which are flats located in two 3-storey blocks that are without any private outdoor space. These will not provide acceptable living conditions for families with children. The design of the blocks makes it explicit that this is where those residents seeking affordable-rented accommodation are to be incarcerated. This is contrary to the Lewes Local Plan requirement that affordable housing shall be indistinguishable in nature and design from a development’s market housing, and was one of the main reasons that the Planning Committee councillors determined to refuse the application.
- Inadequate car parking. Does not meet the criteria, based on actual Ringmer car ownership, of Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan policy 8.3, and some parking places are poorly located at a distance from owners’ homes..
Other Good Planning arguments
Previous appeal inspectors have given these arguments weight, but of course they will be considered alongside the dire need for more Lewes houses. On their own they are unlikely to be enough to get the appeal dismissed.
- Planning boundary. The appeal site is a greenfield site that lies entirely outside the Ringmer village planning boundary. The application is thus contrary to Local Plan policy DM1 and Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan policy 4.1.
- Impact on public footpaths. Ringmer public footpaths numbers 15, 16 and 18 all run across the appeal site. While it would remain possible for pedestrians to cross the site, the experience of users would be degraded by the development.
- Landscape impact. The appeal site forms part of the countryside backdrop currently experienced by users of Ringmer Village Green or pedestrians using Bishops Lane. This countryside experience would be replaced by new, poorly designed, ‘anytown’ suburban development.
- Screening from the countryside. The eastern boundary of the appeal site is just an invisible ownership line across a large arable field, so new development will be completely unscreened for many years to come. This unwelcome impact will be experienced by public footpath users approaching it across the fields on footpaths 15, 16 and 17, by pedestrians, cyclists or motorists travelling towards Lewes along the B2192 and by residents in the Broyleside or along the B2192. The latter include residents at the grade II listed Broyle Gate Farm. This was a major reason this site was not allocated for development in the Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan.
- Development scale. The Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan seeks to meet its housing targets with many smaller development sites, at scale appropriate for our village. This policy has overwhelming support from residents, and the benefit that such smaller scale developments are generally delivered quickly, with lesser disruption to neighbours. The large scale of this proposed development is clearly contrary to Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan policy 6.3.
- Use of Bishops Lane for construction vehicle access. When the Bishops Field and Potters Field building work was carried out (2019 -2023) it was a condition of the planning approval that HGV construction traffic should not use the main (southern) part of Bishops Lane. All such access was to be from the northern end of the site. The main southern lane is narrow and is used by pedestrians including many schoolchildren and has to accommodate on-road car parking from residents of Bishops Lane and Green Close who have no private off-road parking.
Subsequently Bishops Lane was used as the construction access route for a small 10-house development behind Tile Kiln in 2021-2, which caused chaos for residents. Thakeham Homes have opted to utilize Bishops Lane also for access which will create totally unnecessary misery for residents. If a 10 house development caused chaos what will a 68 home development cause?
- Inadequate infrastructure: school places. Would add to the problems already evident with the planned development, and which will be made worse by all the unplanned development now approved or at appeal. It is no good being able to walk to the school (as you could from here) if your children cannot get a place there.
- Inadequate infrastructure: increased sewage pollution. Again would add to the pollution already caused by Ringmer’s dysfunctional foul sewage system.
And lastly, thank you for your support with our campaign to defend our village against unsustainable greenfield development.
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