Landscape concerns at golf club plans

Cuckfield Golf Centre SUS-171129-090856008
Cuckfield Golf Centre SUS-171129-090856008

Plans to import materials to reprofile Cuckfield Golf Centre ‘would not be considered acceptable in principle’, according to county council officers.

Last month the owner outlined a project to remodel the course using around 550,000 tonnes of materials alongside improvements to drainage and accessibility in order to make the business more financially viable.

The works include a different course layout, a new practice pod, and new nine hole short game area.

At a recent parish council meeting residents raised concerns about lorry movements, road safety, and the visual impact of the proposals on the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Concerns about the AONB were also raised in a letter detailing pre-application planning advice from West Sussex County Council.

It said: “Without prejudice to the planning process, it is not considered that there is a need for the development to take place within the AONB, or that any impacts on the landscape in particularly could be satisfactorily mitigated.

“Under this policy, it is currently considered that the proposed development would not be considered acceptable in principle due to its location within the High Weald AONB and the potential impact it would have upon the objectives of the designation.”

But a statement from PT-CE Ltd, the agent for the proposals, claims the ‘design has been conceived to harmonise’ with the surrounding AONB.

It continued: “The proposal would provide a much needed course update, delivering a modern ‘fit for purpose’ community facility, offering playable facilities year round on a new, innovative, 9+9 hole golf course.

“In addition, the club would be able to offer affordable teaching access to all sectors of the community, specifically juniors, female and senior members, on the new cutting-edge practice pod and new 9 hole short game area.

“All potential impacts of the proposal would be examined in detail in accordance with approved methodologies and combined into a comprehensive environmental statement, which would be submitted to West Sussex County Council as part of the planning application.”

The council also suggested that if a genuine need cannot be demonstrated it will be deemed to be waste disposal rather than waste recovery and therefore would be considered as an inert landfill operation with landraising.

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