We are delighted to report that the Government Inspector has conclusively dismissed this appeal on the following grounds:
- Impact on the characteristics and appearance of the area
- Poor design and layout
- Unacceptable overlooking to adjoining properties.
- Unacceptable impact on local biodiversity in particular a breeding colony of Great Crested Newts.
- Lack of provision for affordable housing within the development.
Full report below:
It is gratifying and re-assuring the the inspector has agreed with SOFLAGs argument that the characteristic and appearance of this part of the Keymer Road is distinctly rural and that this proposed development would appear totally out of place. More importantly she points out that parallels cannot be drawn with the previous backland developments along Folders Lane to justify similar backland developments in this part of the town. This is a significant point in our continuing fight to prevent inappropriate development in our area.
We are also delighted that the inspector has also supported our argument that the effects on the local wildlife and environment had not been adequately catered for and that this issue outweighs any benefits the additional housing may provide.
However, perhaps the most significant point from this decision is the inspectors total rejection of Omega’s argument that they should not have to include affordable homes within their plans. SOFLAG took a calculated risk in stressing this point in our written representations to the inspector but we have been proved to be entirely correct to do so as this decision will now present significant business case barriers to other developers wishing to cherry pick our green spaces for pure profit.
Be in no doubt this decision is the most crucial win that we have had to date as we know other developers are continuing to hold pre-application discussions with MSDC on similar developments in the immediate vicinity along the Keymer Road and Folders Lane.
That coupled with the renewed pressure by developers to re-open the debate on large scale development in the fields between Folders Lane and the boundary with Keymer (Site H) means this decision was crucial if were are to successfully fight these threats.
Many thanks to all our supporters who objected to this application and made representations to the inspectorate, despite the recent disappointments with the District Plan etc it good to know that we can still be heard and if we persevere we can make a difference.