So is another planning appeal on its way?
A scheme for 37 homes on land at Windacres Farm in Church Street, Rudgwick has been refused by Waverley Planners eastern committee. The agricultural land has been used for many years for the popular Rudgwick Steam Fair.
Other land south of Cox Green has been developed by Berkeley Homes. Now, residents of the village near Cranleigh on the Surrey Sussex border say – enough is enough and their villages does not have the services to support more housing.
That must ring a few bells with other towns and villages elsewhere in the borough?
It said the site was not designated in its Neighbourhood Plan (EEGNP.) Saying Rudgwick had allocated sufficient sites for planned growth following rigorous assessment. Ewhurst and Ellens Green Parish Council also objected due to the impact on the countryside, AGLV, impact on heritage assets and unsustainable location. Parish housing allocation had already been exceeded.
The harm would considerably outweigh the benefits and presumption in favour of development would not apply. There was also objection from Horsham District Council and over one hundred letters of objection by residents.
However, Waverley’s planning officers recommended approval of the scheme pointing out that the borough does not have a 5-year-housing land supply. It has only 4.3 years so under planning rules – the NPPF (2021)
Cllr Steve Cosser reminded his colleagues that because…
“We do not have a 5-year housing supply, and the tilted balance kicks in, and other appeals have been lost due to this, it is with a heavy heart and although I don’t want to be in his position, I will have to support the officers recommendation to approve this.”
The lack of housing supply has the effect of engaging paragraph 11 of the NPPF (2021) indicating that the Policies most relevant to the determination of the application could be considered out of date. This has the effect of creating what is often termed a ‘tilted balance’ meaning that planning permission should be granted unless the harms of the development significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
In their letters, residents claimed there was no need for the proposed housing. There would be – traffic and congestion – Impact on infrastructure, health and education – GPs and school already full – few facilities and shops in Rudgwick – Negative impact on rural character – Dangerous siting of access road – No pavement to adjacent roads – unsafe Rudgwick’s housing need already allocated via Horsham District Council – Add to demand on existing poor water supply – Loss of natural habitat – Adverse impact on Great Crested Newt (found adjacent to the site) – Loss of good quality agricultural land – Noise and disturbance – Would add to problems with power supply – Would add to problems with sewerage – Backland development out of character with linear form – Will set a precedent for ‘phase 2’. – Adverse impact on views enjoyed by walkers – Landscape harm and adverse impact on AGLV – No change in circumstances from when a previous appeal was refused.
The differences between the current proposal and that application are – 37 rather than 57 dwellings are now proposed. – It is proposed that the LEAP would be sited within the same field boundary as the houses. – The layout of the proposed development is now a matter to be considered at the outline stage About the previous application, this was reserved. – The Planning Statement of the current application provides further information about housing needs in Rudgwick (the adjacent settlement within Horsham District) and housing land supply. – A landscaping buffer is now proposed in the adjacent field. The test is whether having regard to the changes, the current proposal has overcome the reasons for the dismissal of the appeal and is acceptable.
The eastern planning committee refused the application against the planning officer’s advice by 12 votes to one with two abstentions, to applause from the public gallery.