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Planning issues in Winchelsea

View current and past planning applications in Winchelsea or for the whole of the District.

Commenting on planning applications

If you wish to comment on planning applications, read the attached guide. You need to make your comments in writing to the District Council by the deadline given on the planning notice. It is worth copying your comments to each of the members of the Planning Committee at the District Council.

All comments on a planning application have to address ‘material’ planning considerations. A material consideration is any use and development of land that has an impact on the public interest and is specific to the application being considered. In other words, the planning system is not intended to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another. Indeed, a planning applicant has a right to permission, unless his application is contrary to the Local Development Plan, or would cause demonstrable harm to public interests of acknowledged importance, in other words, developments that would unacceptably affect amenities, and the existing use of land and buildings, which ought to be protected in the public interest.

It does no harm to have the Parish Council Planning Committee on your side, but it is unlikely to be a problem if they take an opposing view. Parish Councils do not have any planning powers, nor do they have the right to be consulted. They have only the right to be notified of planning applications in the Parish. The District Council must take account of any representations made by the Parish Council, but only to the same extent that they must take account of representations of other bodies and individuals

Background information to planning issues in Winchelsea

Relevant background includes:

The Article 4 Direction needs to be read if you are planning on work on the outside of your house, whether or not it is listed.

Background information to the planning process

Rother District Council provides useful guidance to the planning process on its website, from where you can download their new Planning Handbook (4.3MB) and Guide to Development Control Practice for Town and Parish Councils (5.3MB).

You may also wish to check out the Planning Portal, which is the government's online planning and building regulations resource. You can use this site to learn about planning and building regulations, apply for planning permission and building regulations consent, find out about development near you, appeal against a decision and research government policy.

If you are concerned about the periodic proposals to erect more mobile phone masts in Winchelsea, read about the planning law applying to mobile phone masts as it affects Winchelsea.

Planning in Winchelsea

Planning is a hot potato in most communities. In Winchelsea, it is often highly contentious.

Winchelsea is an attractive village with a precious heritage, including a considerable number of ancient monuments and listed buildings, many dating from its foundation in 1288. It also has the highest concentration of medieval wine cellars in the country. In addition, Winchelsea retains its medieval landscape setting: it still sits on a hill surrounded by largely empty marshland. For these reasons, the village is a Conservation Area, much of it is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and it has been officially identified as being of ‘international’ historic importance.

In addition to the quality of its built and natural environment, there is a high quality of life. The size and history of Winchelsea have encouraged a strong sense of community and the compactness of the village fosters intense social interaction. Civic pride and social cohesion have allowed Winchelsea to preserve services such as its village shop and post office, which add to its attraction as a place in which to live.

Because of its many qualities, a lot of people would like to live in Winchelsea. However, there is a limited housing stock (about 280 dwellings), so there is constant pressure to infill spaces and to develop the periphery of the village.

Moreover, the high cost of housing in the village and the lack of affordable housing means that the population is older than average. This accentuates the natural cycle of improvement and deterioration in the housing stock. As people age, they tend to scale back maintenance of their properties and cease to upgrade domestic facilities. Properties tend to deteriorate or become ‘dated’. When the property is sold, the new owners typically undertake extensive refurbishment and modernisation. Such major changes can create concerns about conservation.

Then, there is the intrusion of modern life in the form of mobile phone masts, road “improvements” and the proliferation of traffic signs and advertisements.

Many residents of Winchelsea feel that they have a duty to conserve the village for future generations. However, one person’s ‘conservation’ can be another’s ‘interference’ and there is therefore considerable potential for conflict.