BRIDGELANDS, BARCOMBE CROSS, EAST SUSSEX
No. of Dwellings: 6 (2 x 4 bed, 1 x 3 bed, 3 x 2 bed)
No. of Car Spaces: 10 off-street + 4 unallocated
Gross Internal Area: 765m2
Planning Approval: November 2018
Architect: BBM Sustainable Design Ltd
Planning Consultant: Kember Loudon Williams
Highways Consultant: Motion
The Bridgelands housing scheme aimed to successfully place high quality dwellings with optimised low environmental impact performance into an essentially ‘Arcadian’ rural village setting with a rich bio-diverse landscape.
BBM were approached in 2016 by local landowners of a site in Barcombe Cross which had been in their family’s ownership since the land was released by British Rail when the branch line was closed in the late 1960’s. While the west side of the station drive had been developed in the intervening years, the east side had remained outside of the planning boundary. Despite some previous unsuccessful attempts to gain a planning permission for housing on the site, the clients felt it was worth another try.
BBM advised the clients of first promoting the site through Lewes District Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). An initial scoping study looked at the scale of development which might be possible on the site having gained advice from the local Parish and Housing Officer on housing need in the area to establish a suitable mix. BBM then advocated submitting this scheme by way of supporting evidence for the 2016 SHLAA, a pre-application submission to the planners and a presentation of it to the Parish Council where important resident feedback was gathered.
In late 2017, BBM suggested the clients appoint a planning consultant to help prepare representations of the site for the draft Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) which LDC were at the time opening for consultation. Early in 2018, hearing that the revised draft had in deed included the site with an allocation, it was decided an outline planning application could now be progressed and the scheme won approval in November 2018.
The scheme design contended with very significant site constraints. Firstly, the plot was exceptionally long and thin. It was also bordered by substantial mature woodland with a large Victorian era attenuation pond to manage surface water drainage. Access off the private road had to be restricted to two established crossovers and the new road layout would need to include a full sized turning head for refuse vehicles and fire appliances. BBM were also keen to impose a responsible design requirement to afford each house with optimally oriented roof mounted solar panels and excellent levels of south facing passive solar gain. This meant the orientation of each house, already responding to the position of root protection zones, awkward access restrictions and sensitive ecology around the site, had to align the footprints roughly perpendicular to the private access road. The planning application also required detailed surveys and specialist design inputs from ecologists, arboriculturalists, highways consultants and drainage experts.