‘If you want the light, you’ve got to buy it’ was the response of one district councillor when neighbours raised concerns about plans for eight flats in East Grinstead.
The application to demolish an Edwardian building in Maypole Road and replace it with the flats was discussed by Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee on Thursday (July 4).
The council had received more than 30 objections to the plan, with concerns raised over the proposed size of the building, which was seen as overbearing, as well as the loss of privacy to neighbours and the loss of sunlight to their homes.
Neighbour Matt Thompson said that, as well as his family having to endure new windows overlooking their home, the new building would mean a ‘huge year-round loss of light and in the winter the direct sunlight might not reach our garden at all’.
Mr Thompson added: “We recognise the need for housing but it doesn’t mean over-developing every site to the detriment of local people.
“If you approve this application we believe you will set a precedent for development at all costs and on the largest scale possible on a site.
“We want this site to move on but not with this development.”
A similar application for ten flats on the site was refused earlier this year and, since then, the developer had been working with planning officers to change the plans and address concerns.
Phillip Coote (Con, Crawley Down & Turners Hill) warned the committee that, if the application was refused it would ‘no doubt’ be granted on appeal. This would cost the council money.
Regarding Mr Thompson’s comments, Mr Coote added: “There is an old adage ‘if you want the light, you’ve got to buy it’.
“I’m afraid I don’t see any way that we could refuse this now that it’s had extensive work done between the officers and the applicant.”
There were objections from both the East Grinstead Town Council and the East Grinstead Society, with the latter raising concerns about parking and traffic problems along Maypole Road.
It was a view echoed by another neighbour, Shereen Jenkins, who said the development would create hazards and traffic congestion.
She added: “This road is a rat run. This road is phenomenally busy at school times and any times of rush hour.”
While there was concern from some councillors about the size of the building and the impact it would have on the neighbouring homes, the efforts made by the planning team and the developer won out.
The application was approved, with one vote in opposition and one abstention.
The building will be made up of seven two-bedroom and one one-bedroom flats.
Karen Dunn , Local Democracy Reporting Service