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Pickles rejects 195 East Sussex greenfield homes

Secretary of State (SoS) Eric Pickles has upheld a decision by Wealden District Council to refuse an application for a residential development on a greenfield site in Hailsham in East Sussex because the site was located outside Hailsham's development area.20 Jun 2013

The outline application by developer Masma Ltd was rejected by the Council in August last year because it said it would have an "unduly urbanising effect" upon the area which the Council said was characterised by "its increasingly rural and sylvan feel".

The SoS said in his decision letter (64-page / 567KB PDF) that, although the proposed development would have social, economic and environmental benefits, it did not accord with the spatial distribution policy in the Council's newly adopted Core Strategy.

The SoS said that the proposal site was located outside the development boundary for Hailsham within an area of countryside and that the scheme would result in a "significant change of character" from semi-rural to urban.

He said that, although the Council had visions for urban extensions on land outside the existing boundaries, this did not mean "that development boundaries no longer serve a useful purpose".

He noted that other greenfield sites which the Council had released for development had been selected through "robust examination", which the proposed development site had not been subject to.