Statement from Chris Skinner

This meadow embodies all seven special qualities of the National Park.

It is as much a part of our cultural heritage as an old barn or a windmill. It makes a distinctive contribution to our sense of place, preserving the rural, agricultural character of our surroundings.

According to the recent Sustainability Appraisal, The meadow is sited within one of the most tranquil areas in the Park. It has an important separation function between two villages; preserving their distinct identities.

A highly visible component in the landscape, it can be seen for miles; developing the meadow will certainly spoil “inspirational landscapes “ and “breathtaking views”.

97% of our flower-rich hay meadows have disappeared from the UK within living memory. How will people understand and enjoy the special qualities of this meadow if it has gone? Destruction of this scarce cultural and wildlife resource is in conflict with Purpose 1 and 2 of the National Park.

This is a Major Development. As such it should be refused in a National Park unless there are exceptional circumstances in the public interest. There are none here.

Of all the villages within the National Park, Coldwaltham has been assessed by The Hierarchy Study as one of its least sustainable settlements.  Yet: It has the largest housing allocation (40) of all the rural villages in East and West Sussex. The village population will increase by nearly 11%.

Coldwaltham has by far the largest land allocation in the Park;  The whole meadow will be destroyed, with roughly half of it going for housing, the other half for car parking and open space. Why do we need any open space on the edge of the Arun Valley, with all its footpaths?

Because the housing plot is so large, each house will have on average 1/4 acre per plot, one of the lowest housing densities in the Park. Why is so much land needed for this?

This is not a balanced, proportional allocation. It is unfair and it is not in the public interest to proceed with it.

Since the original allocation was withdrawn, the plot has moved within the meadow; it has doubled, then quadrupled in size and the houses have increased from 20 to 40. None of this has been subject to a Regulation 18 consultation.

The Parish Council’s objection to the current proposal, which surfaced on 2 June, was acknowledged, but ignored, with the remark that there would be plenty of time for comment in September.

The National Park has failed in its duty to conduct appropriate stakeholder consultations. We are not opposed to development, but there are other sites in the village that are more suitable.

We urge that this site be removed from the emerging Local Plan to enable an adequate and fair consultation about the issues outlined above.

 

Chris Skinner

Coldwaltham Meadow Conservation Group

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