Residents rejoice as homes plan is thrown out over newts possibility

RESIDENTS are pleased that plans to build four new homes at a site on The Ridge have been rejected.

Since August local residents opposing the plans have been in contact with the planning department at Hastings Borough Council, adamant that there was a strong possibility that the great crested newt, protected under European law, might be present.

At a site meeting in October, council officers found a smooth newt beneath some rubble, and Murray Davidson, environmental and natural resources manager, suggested that the protected species may also be present.

On December 5 the application was turned down, the refusal stating the presence or otherwise of a protected species must be determined before permission is granted.

Samantha Shulver, one of the residents opposing the scheme said: “Of course we are pleased, but I don’t think this will be the last we hear of it. Our main concern is the highway safety, and in our eyes this has not been dealt with.”

The original planning application to build two pairs of semi-detached houses to the rear of 465 The Ridge, was refused in October last year, due to concerns over increased traffic and potential damage to the natural environment. The appeal was then dismissed over road safety concerns.

A revised application proposing new road markings, was due to be discussed by the planning committee on September 14, but was withdrawn because of indications that there might be great crested newts at the site. The options for the developer, M&L Properties, are either to appeal the decision, or to submit great crested newt surveys undertaken by a specialist, at the appropriate time of year, which is between March and July.

Architects Pumphouse Designs said no decision had yet been made.