The Village Council has received a leaflet from Ashgrove Homes outlining proposals for the development of the Manor house at Wealden House. The leaflet has also been delivered to some residents. The site is adjacent to the former EDF site, and is currently occupied by a number of small businesses. The developers were granted permission on appeal for the construction of 54 flats on the EDF site (see link below).
The developers are required to consult with the community before submitting a planning application. They have requested comments by the 30th July. If you have any comments or questions about the proposals, please make sure that you send them to the address on the leaflet.
The Village Council has sent a response to the leaflet, which is is set out below.
Village Council’s comments:
Thank you for sending a copy of the leaflet containing details of the proposals for the development of the Wealden House Life Improvement Centre.
The following preliminary comments are made in accordance with the Council’s policy on pre-application consultations with developers. Councillors will approach any planning application that you submit with an open mind and will decide the Council’s recommendation when in receipt of all the relevant information and documentation.
You advise that you propose to build 45 apartments on the Life Improvement Centre site. This is adjacent to the EDF site, which has permission (granted on appeal in November 2020) for the construction of 54 flats.
The Life Improvement Centre site is allocated in the Ashurst Wood Neighbourhood Plan (ASW 10), with no estimated dwelling capacity stated. It is clear from the site assessment carried out and from the policy (ASW 10(f)) that it was anticipated that the existing building on the site, a Victorian Manor House currently divided into offices and surgeries, would be retained and might at some point be restored to residential use.
Your leaflet refers to a demand for smaller homes in Ashurst Wood. Have you spoken to local estate agents to ascertain what supply and demand exists in the housing market for different sizes and types of dwellings in Ashurst Wood?
There is a shortage of affordable homes in the village, and both the Neighbourhood Plan (ASW15) and the Mid Sussex District Plan (DP31) require the provision of 30% on-site affordable dwellings. Have you spoken to Mid Sussex District Council to ascertain the mix of housing types that will be required?
The Neighbourhood Plan emphasises the importance of gardens in Ashurst Wood and ASW 14(h) requires proposals to provide private garden amenity apace proportionate to the size of the dwelling. Communal areas and balconies provide some outdoor space, but the Council would like to see consideration given to including some dwellings with their own private gardens, thus providing future residents with more choice.
ASW 10(b) requires you to demonstrate that any development will not have a harmful impact on the amenity of the residents of Ashbourne House and Carlton House. These two apartment buildings contain a total of 14 flats built over three storeys, with the third storey set into the roof. The residents share large attractive communal gardens, which currently adjoin the gardens belonging to the Life Improvement Centre.
Your proposal should not have an overbearing impact or loss of outlook for these properties and should not adversely affect the privacy of the residents while they use their homes including the gardens.
ASW 21 sets out parking standards which would require a minimum of 90 parking spaces for 45 dwellings with 1-3 bedrooms. Insufficient spaces could lead both to on-road parking on the A22, which would have a serious impact on traffic flow, and to obstruction of the access to Ashbourne House and Carlton House.
Something that you might wish to consider is the inclusion of a Car Club. These can reduce the impact of private car ownership while making a development attractive to buyers.
Members of the Village Council would be happy to meet with you on site for discussions about the proposals prior to submission of any planning application.