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High Court quashes planning permission for new homes in Wealden

The High Court has quashed an inspector’s decision to allow 103 new homes in Wealden District Council. This judgement, issued yesterday, will be of particular importance to clients active in and around the Wealden and Ashdown Forest areas.

The High Court has quashed an inspector’s decision to allow 103 new homes in Wealden District Council. This judgement, issued yesterday, will be of particular importance to clients active in and around the Wealden and Ashdown Forest areas.

In 2014 Wealden District Council refused planning permission for 103 new homes and open space in Steel Cross, Crowborough. Among the reasons, it concluded that the proposal represented an unacceptable and unjustified form of development in open countryside, within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and outside the development boundary for Crowborough. The Council also concluded that the proposed development, both alone and in-combination with other plans and proposals, would have an adverse effect on the integrity of protected areas in Ashdown Forest a Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

An appeal was subsequently lodged and allowed, overruling the Council's decision and granting planning permission.


Nonetheless, in a High Court judgement on 17 February 2016 the appeal decision was quashed.  The Council’s challenge was accepted on the basis that the judge found that the Inspector erred in law when concluding that the proposals would have no significant effect on the Ashdown Forest SAC, pursuant to section 61 of the Habitats Regulations. Specifically, the Inspector was wrong in finding that contributions to The Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy would mitigate any such effect from nitrogen deposition and by failing to have regard to evidence that proposed contributions to heathland management may not effectively mitigate any such effect.


If you are currently reviewing development proposals within the Wealden & Ashdown Forest Areas, please contact  David Bedford or Tim Spicer to discuss the wider implications for new housing development in these areas.

For more information call 01622 776226 or email:

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