In June 2016 Parker Dann held an 'exhibition' in Heathfield for a major housing development for 212 homes on two important sites at the top of Marklye Lane.
The sites are inside the the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and located on the ridgeline - they have the finest views in the High Weald as acclaimed by landscape experts.
See downloads below for :
Plans of Vines Corner Sites
Heathfield residents were devastated that such a proposal for a substantial new intrusion into the AONB could have gained serious consideration by Wealden District Council – who were quoted in the local newspaper to be giving Vines Corner 'a cautious welcome' - and demanded 800 new homes in the Wealden Local Plan in Heathfield ... Issues Options & Recommendations.
Equally shocking and worrying were the scale and density of housing and comments from Parker Dann the developer that there was no point in anyone objecting as it was a 'done deal' with Wealden District Council.
StopVinesCorner Heathfield group was quickly formed. A Barrister and a Planning Consultant were employed to challenge the application using the obligations in the National Planning Policy Framework that Planning Authorities protect and conserve and enhance AONB.
A local firm of Landscape Architects positioned the true value and importance of the landscape. A Highways Consultant pointed out the impact to the Heathfield highways network of the additional 400+ vehicles and the crucial inadequacy of the estate junction onto the A265 Burwash Road.
Scroll to the end to see downloads below for summary versions of the legal and technical reports.
The largest site in Vines Corner is known by many people in Heathfield as 'The Top of the 'World'.... and this is because at nearly 600 feet above sea level bounded with Ancient Woodland and ancient hedgerows. It has outstanding open views across the High Weald to Mayfield, Five Ashes, Ticehurst and Goudhurst - one does indeed feel on top of the world ! It is a rare place where for nearly 100 years people have been able to walk their dog or play games with children or quietly drink in the peace and feeling of remoteness. Wildlife is abundant with Foxes, Fallow Deer, Dormice, Buzzards, Tawny Owls, Adders, Grass Snakes and Great Crested Newts... just to mention a few.
The smaller site is known as the Fairground Field which again is on the plateau of the Heathfield watershed - with far reaching views across the High Weald. This field is also rich in wildlife and has abundant habitat with ancient hedgerows and important mature trees. The land falls steeply away to an Ancient Woodland Ghyll with a stream rising which flows into the Rother River. These are all very rare landscape features which Landvision have itemised in the Landscape Visual Assessment which they produced to support our Objection.
This lane is a single track ancient 'drove way' over 1,000 years old - having been established many hundreds of years ago as part of the original route from Eastbourne to Mayfield. Landvision have identified it as a very rare landscape feature with original land contours to either side and high banks sparkling with Wood Anemone, Primrose and Wild Purple Orchids all interlaced with Bluebells and magnificent Ferns. The original 'driftway' farms along the lane all attest to its history as an important 'drove way' used to drive cattle and sheep from Winter to Summer pastures and to market.
If Marklye Lane is 'terminated' as in the Vines Corner application - over over 25% of the lane will be destroyed to make way for the access road - making it impossible for any large farm or commercial vehicle to enter / exit the lane for access to / from the A265.
The ancient landscape feature of the 'green tunnel' in this photo will be destroyed, the historic hedgerows rooted out, and the ancient trees lining the 3 metres high banks (10 feet) will be uprooted.
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Little Marklye, Marklye Lane, HEATHFIELD, East Sussex TN21 8QB, GB