Coldwaltham Parish Council Response to the Draft Development Brief for Coldwaltham.
We do not, as a Parish Council, support any large developments in the village as we clearly expressed in our submission to the Local Plan. We understand that this development brief will be swiftly abandoned if the Local Plan is not agreed and would welcome confirmation of this. We note the photographs used in this development brief do the site little justice; there are more positive views available.
There are a number of confusing and contradictory statements in the development brief. We would like it to be amended to show:
- A written confirmation of the maximum number of houses and commitment to 50% social housing requirement. Pages 39 and 46 (para 42) both refer to a mix of market and affordable homes, but there is no quantification.
- Clarity over the settlement boundary line, will it be a ‘full stop’ or a ‘feathered’ edge. We would appreciate some clarity over the location and scale of non-residential parking, for both the new open space and the shop. Page 47 (para 48) says the layout must create a ‘full stop’ at the settlement edge; para 47 says dwellings on the edge should be informally arranged.
- An assessment of the impact on the landscape. The strong relationship to the South Downs from this site means houses should not be obscuring it. There should be no linear arrangement of houses restricting views across to the Downs from the A29. All development proposals should be subject to viewsheds to show impact on views. Page 46-7 (para 47) advocates a linear arrangement of houses along the A29; page 45 (para 36) says they need to be placed to retain views from the A29 into the site and across the Arun Valley.
- An agreed plan for the remaining land with appropriate guarantees to prevent any further development of the open space part of the site in perpetuity. This must include a commitment from the SDNPA for a long-term sustainable solution to the management of this important area. Currently this is not a role that the present PC could envisage taking on although the PC would like to be part of any future discussions. There is no detail over costs or how this might be funded.
The development brief should make clear that there will be a planning condition requiring no development to be undertaken until a sustainable management plan for the public open space has been agreed by the SDNPA. Pages 44-5 (paras 23, 26, and 28) highlight the need for management but not the means for delivering it.
- A sustained commitment to the ‘Dark Skies’ policy, no ‘buts’ on this, including shop lights. We have no street lighting in our Parish and we do not want any, including ‘bollard’ lighting. Page 44 para 17
- An enthusiasm to consult with the local community on all future developments. This would include using evidence based local views on environmental impact, design and access and parking and disabled access.
- A commitment to honour environmental assessments and consequential changes to the site arising from these assessments. This should include impact on housing design, use of solar panels and footpaths. The brief also needs to recognise and address the environmental and ecological reservations about this site we understand to have been submitted to the SDNPA by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Natural England.
- With 25-30 homes, the development apparently comes within the guideline that there should be more than one vehicle access, but it remains unclear how if at all this aim could be met. The guideline is invoked on page 14 (para 4c) but no second vehicle access appears on pages 45-6 (paras 38-41).
- A commitment to road safety by the SDNPA through a planning condition that no development should proceed on the South side of the A29 without prior agreement with West Sussex Highways to provide a new crossing for residents to access the school, Sandham Hall / Church etc. on the other side of the A29.
- Support for our current Post office based in Sandham Hall. We wish for the sub-PO to remain where it currently is and not be part of any new shop.
We welcome the consultation opportunity and have some strong views on the proposal.
Coldwaltham Parish Council
20th April 2018