An overgrown patch of land down an ancient iron age lane is to be brought back to life, having been abandoned the 1980s.
The land, in Cansiron Lane, near East Grinstead, will be home to a cul-de-sac of up to six houses and a new access road after permission was given by Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee A on Thursday (April 11).
The site used to house the Mount Pleasant Nursery, but the past 30-odd years have seen its crumbling glass houses overrun by trees and undergrowth.
It is allocated for development in the Ashurst Wood Neighbourhood Plan, but only for three houses.
Jenny Forbes, chairman of the village council, said allowing six to be built would ‘disappoint’ residents.
Acknowledging that the site had ‘long been regarded as an eye sore’, she added: “Since the abandonment of the nursery business in the 1980s, the old nursery buildings have become derelict and the land unkempt and overgrown.
“Some residents are happy for the site to return to nature, but during our lengthy Neighbourhood Plan consultation it was shown that most are in favour of seeing it improved as long as this was done in the right way.”
She was supported by John Belsey (Con, Ashurst Wood) who pointed out that, without the Neighbourhood Plan, there would be no development on the site because it was outside the built-up area boundary.
Mr Belsey added: “I firmly believe that, wherever possible, we should seek to make decisions to support the huge amount of work that went into those plans and that was supported by the public.”
Residents were also unhappy with the plan to build a new access road into the site rather than using the one which already exists.
Ms Forbes said: “The proposed access will result in the loss of some mature oak trees and the village council did request that it be moved.
“There is an existing access point and the council is disappointed that more effort was not made to consider alternatives that would have saved some or all of the oak trees.”
The meeting was told that Cansiron Lane was an iron age ridge-way, more than 2,000 years old.
There are no pavements and it is so narrow that there is not enough room for two vehicles to pass.
As such, the application includes a lay-by or passing place.
Members decided that up to six homes would be acceptable on the site and gave unanimous approval to the application.