PROPOSALS to build houses on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Uckfield have been given the go-ahead by Wealden planners.

At a virtual meeting on Thursday, Wealden District Council’s planning committee north approved proposals to build two detached, three-bedroom houses off of Snatts Road in Uckfield.

While the site lies outside of Uckfield’s development boundary (which runs along the other side of Snatts Road), planning officers had recommended the scheme should be approved as the council cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of housing supply.

This view was not shared by Uckfield Ridgewood councillor Gary Johnson (Con), however. He said: “I am not keen on this. It looks like somebody has cleared some woodland, drained out a pond and now wants to build two houses there.”

“I know we are being told it is on the edge of the development boundary, but my understanding is what that means is it is outside the development boundary. 

“I understand the pressures we are under for land supply. Well, Uckfield has already got at least 1,100 houses coming its way and potentially more if I don’t manage to fend it off.

“On balance I am against this development.”

Other councillors took a different view, however, arguing that the scheme would have a limited impact and provide housing.

Cllr Neil Waller (Con, Crowborough South West) said: “It is a somewhat subjective decision. Some believe that the negatives outweigh the positives. I think on balance the positives outweigh the negatives.”

Following further discussion the proposals were approved with eight votes in favour to three against and one abstention.

The site had formerly been part of the gardens of Charlwood Manor, which has planning permission to be demolished and redeveloped.

Historically, from some time in the mid-1800s, there had been L-shaped pond on the site, but it dried up after a period of disuse. While the pond has now been reinstated it still remains dry for most of the year.

As part of the proposals, the developer intends to retain this pond, which will be split across both plots.

The applicant had initially sought permission to build four houses on the site, but this was reduced to two following discussion with planning officers.

Both of the new build houses would be two storeys tall, but would be built into the slope of the site, appearing from road level as single storey buildings, with lower ground floors below.

For further details of the proposals see application reference WD/2019/0209/F on the Wealden District Council planning website.