An appeal against a council to build 424 homes on farmland has been thrown out by a planning inspector.

The developer, Gleeson Land and John Alison Land and Research, made the appeal after their plans to build the homes on the edge of Uckfield were refused by Wealden District Council in April last year.

Following a ten-day inquiry, the government’s planning inspector dismissed the appeal comprehensively backing Wealden council’s decision.

The outline application was for up to 424 residential dwellings including affordable housing with vehicle, pedestrian and cycle access and separate emergency access from the A22 Uckfield bypass.

It also had pedestrian and cycle access from Snatts Road, open spaces including children’s play space, sustainable urban drainage systems, associated landscaping, infrastructure and earthworks.

In announcing that the appeal was dismissed, the planning inspector said the main issues were the effects of the proposal on ancient woodland and protected species.

The inspector also questioned whether the proposal provided enough mitigation for the impact the plans could have on the Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Other issues included whether the scheme provided safe and suitable access for all users.

The report, which was published on February 6, also highlighted concerns about heritage assets historic landscape character and whether the proposal would be in an appropriate location.

Councillor Ian Tysh, lead councillor for planning and environment, said, “We are delighted that the planning inspector agreed with the council’s original decision to refuse this application and save this site from development.

“Downlands is an important area, a very, very special place, ecologically sensitive and enclosed on most sides by ancient woodland, with many veteran trees within. It also abuts Lake Wood, a local nature reserve run and owned by Woodland Trust. I am pleased we have defended this land from what was a very hostile application which would have caused immeasurable damage to the Wealden landscape.”

It comes after a similar appeal against the same council’s refusal of plans for 290 homes in Framfield, near Uckfield, was dismissed in October.