East Chiltington residents’ anger at developer’s BBC radio claims

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Eighty percent of the households in Hollycroft, East Chiltington, have joined forces to oppose a plan for 36 homes at a community green.

Lewes District Council and Karis Developments propose building the terraced houses on Hollycroft Field – the open space alongside Hollycroft.

Residents have taken acception to statement made by Josh Arghiros, MD of Karis Developments, on BBC Radio Sussex last month.

He said the East Chiltington residents opposing the proposal did not live around the Hollycroft Field and those who were being the most vocal were “the more affluent members of the community who live around East Chiltington”.

In response, sixteen of the twenty households in Hollycroft have signed a letter of objection to this.

“We know that we are not alone,” said a Hollycroft resident. “We are just one of 30 council-owned sites which LDC plans to build on – many of which are community assets. Hollycroft Field is at the heart of our scattered rural hamlet and a registered community asset.

“LDC only ‘consulted’ us after a developer had already been instructed. We were never consulted on the choice of the site and this proposal ignores all previous assessments and LDC’s planners’ advice regarding this piece of land. The whole process feels alarmingly undemocratic and not thought through. We are appalled that Karis has so little understanding of the situation here on the ground in East Chiltington. We do object!”

The East Chiltington Action Group argues that the Hollycroft site is an inappropriate choice for development because it is unsustainable, with insufficient local amenities, and the field is an important recreation ground.

A spokesperson for Lewes District Council said: “We welcome the letter from the residents of Hollycroft Field and thank them for sharing their views. We will continue to engage with local people in East Chiltington and across the district as our plans for new homes develop.

“We know there is significant need for affordable homes in the rural northern area of the district. Our proposal to address this is to build affordable housing that will benefit older residents who need to downsize but want to stay in the area, as well as younger adults starting out.

“Local people have told us they are worried about losing the communal green space so we will make sure that the development includes a village green and brand new children’s play area.

“We want to be open and transparent about the development process. We have held and will continue to hold consultation events to ensure that local people have their say on the final plans for the new homes. The dates for these events will be advertised on our website at www.lewes.go.uk/newhomes”