Residents’ joy as plan for new homes rejected

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THERE were cheers from residents after councillors voted against plans to build new homes in Fern Road, St Leonards.

More than 100 people had signed a petition against the planning application to build 14 semi-detached houses on a stretch of vacant land.

Keith Milchem, speaking on behalf of the residents at the planning committee meeting on Wednesday, said: “This will have the effect of completely changing the atmosphere of the built environment.”

“Issues around drainage exist and the developers seem to want to overcome this on the cheap,” he added.

He argued that the proposals, following a similar application, which was refused in April, were not in keeping with the road where there are currently detached houses and bungalows.

Laurence Hulkes, on behalf of developer The Park Lane Group, said that the current application addressed concerns over drainage and appearance of the proposed houses, which would now have a more traditional design.

Councillor Matthew Beaver said that from looking at the petition it was apparent that those against the plans, were those who lived in the immediate area.

He said: “There are over 100 signatures on the petition. This application is not wanted in the area.”

Councillor Michael Wincott said: “I feel that if this went to appeal, we would lose.”

Cllr Beaver added: “It is an overdevelopment of the site in my opinion. We should not as members be afraid to turn things down for fear of appeal.”

There were also concerns expressed over drainage and land slippage on the site, which slopes steeply down to Fern Road.

Cllr Beaver said with regards to documents detailing plans for drainage and stability: “This information came to us at six o’clock today, not giving us enough time to question officers outside a public body. It has all come to us in my opinion, too late.”

Members of the planning committee voted to refuse the application on the grounds that the current proposal was not in keeping with the area.