Proposals for a major housing development in Polegate have been given the go-ahead by Wealden planners.

On Thursday (March 21), Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee South approved an application seeking outline permission to build up to 240 on land to the south of the A27 and west of Shepham Lane.

As an outline scheme, the application had only sought permission for the principle of building the homes on the site, with all matters other than access set to come forward at a later date.

While recommended for approval, the scheme had seen objections raised by Polegate Town Council due to concerns around the impact of additional houses on highways and other local infrastructure.

The town council had also raised concerns about the loss of countryside and the noise levels future residents could face as a result of the site’s proximity to the A27. Similar concerns were raised by residents, MP Maria Caulfield, the Sussex Ramblers and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Officers, however, had warned that the council’s lack of a five-year supply of housing land (a measure used by the government to assess house-building targets) put significant weight in favour of development going ahead.

Committee members ultimately reached the same view as officers, opting to grant outline planning permission.

A motion to approve was reluctantly put forward by Independent councillor David White. He said: “I think, members, that this is a case where one holds one’s nose and votes for something that one doesn’t necessarily approve. I say that because I think Polegate has already taken a significant amount of development.

“I think the schemes are crammed in frankly, but looking at this site it is surrounded by sites that already have a grant of planning consents. I am not satisfied as to the access, I am not satisfied that we are actually going to get the improved infrastructure … but having said all of that I don’t think we are in a position … to refuse this application.”

Planning permission will be granted contingent on a legal agreement. This is expected to include a commitment to provide 35 per cent of the site as affordable housing, with a further five per cent of the site to be custom or self-build units.

The legal agreement will also require off-site highways works — including improvements to the mini-roundabout at the junction of Shepham Lane and Dittons Road — and a financial contribution towards local bus services.

For further information see application reference WD/2023/0066/MAO on the Wealden District Council website.