Plans which could lead to new homes being built on Seaford’s Blatchington Green are due to be discussed next week.
Seaford Town Council has submitted an application to build three new homes on green space off North Way.
However before this can be determined, it is also seeking permission to remove a planning condition requiring the land to be preserved as a children’s play area.
This dates back to when the surrounding homes were built in the 1980s.
The application is due to be discussed by Lewes District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (October 31).
In a report to be considered by the committee, planning officers acknowledge the need for new housing but recommend that the committee refuse the application.
The report said: “The land was original intended to be a children’s play space, and not necessarily required as a green space for the purposes of adding value to the character, layout and appearance of the housing development in North Way.
“The land is part of the green infrastructure within Seaford, a town which has a shortage of such spaces measured against the adopted standards contained in the Joint Core Strategy, and in terms of planning policy the proposed removal of the S.52 Obligation should be resisted.
“Whilst there is an established need for new housing, this particular site continues to play an important role as green space and accordingly refusal of this application to remove the S.52 Obligation is recommended.”
According to the report, planners received a large number of objections to the scheme including a petition signed by more than 300 residents.
The petition reads: “We demand Seaford Town Council withdraws its application to develop Blatchington Green (land between 107 and 109 North Way, Seaford) and to commit to preserving the site in its present use as a green open space.
“For over thirty years residents have enjoyed Blatchington Green as a green open space. The near final draft of the local neighbourhood plan identified this area of Seaford has less than the recommended number of green open spaces.
“The council should remove its notice prohibiting ball games and encourage the community to take a lead in site management.
“The site provided an important habitat for wildlife and protected species, including a safe corridor between the South Downs National Park and Seaford Gardens, school playing fields and other spaces towards Blatchington Pond.”
The council also received an additional 37 individual objections from neighbours.
According to the town council’s application the public footpath would be retained but diverted behind the new dwellings if approved.
The plans explain how this development’s purpose is to finance major improvements to public and tourist facilities elsewhere in Seaford.
The application said: “Circumstances have changed significantly since North Way was developed. The pressure on local planning authorities (LPAs) to maximise the supply of land for new housing and to locate potential development sites is intense.
“Local and national planning policies make it clear that small windfall sites such as the application site have a vital role to play in assisting LPAs in achieving the targets set by the Government without encroaching on land outside normal development boundaries.”
For further information see application reference LW/18/0506 on the Lewes District Council planning website.