A planning inspector has dismissed proposals for a ‘backland’ housing development in Hailsham.

This was for plans to build two bungalows on land to the rear of 1 The Drive in Hailsham.

Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee South refused the scheme in November 2022, despite an officer recommendation to grant permission. Councillors at the time raised concerns about both the scheme’s impact on the character and appearance of the area and the risk of flooding on the site.

The inspector did not share the committee’s concerns around the character and appearance, but did raise concerns about the level of flooding risk.

In their decision notice, the inspector said: “Ultimately, from the evidence submitted, the appeal site presents a greater risk of flooding than sites outside areas at risk of other forms of flooding.

“Paragraph 168 of the [National Planning Policy] Framework, states that development should not be permitted if there are reasonably available sites in areas with a lower risk of flooding and this should be demonstrated through the application of the sequential approach set out in the Framework.”

The inspector noted how this sequential testing — examining whether other sites could be built on instead — had not been undertaken by the applicant, but also had not been required as part of previous applications for the same site.

Even so, the inspector ruled that the applicant had “failed to demonstrate that there are no reasonably available sites appropriate for the proposed development in areas at lower risk of flooding” and that this was a significant factor against development. This was ultimately judged to be sufficient grounds to dismiss the appeal.