Village Extension, Robertsbridge, East Sussex
Re-development of redundant commercial site for 100 new homes and commercial space, including the re-purposing of a Victorian Mill and the renewal of a Listed Oast House, close to the centre of the medieval village of Robertsbridge
The key challenge here was that, in 2015, the council were keeping to the planning policy that reserved this land for 90% Employment Use. A previous attempt at a residential-led scheme had been refused on Appeal.
Our approach was to work with the local Neighbourhood Plan Group to see if we could fulfil a portion of their housing targets on this Brownfield site, which was in dire need of re-generation. It turned out that this site had significant advantages over all of the other proposed sites. There was a strong local desire to find a way of bringing the historic Mill building, and its environs, back to life and to place a large proportion of the housing requirement on this 9Ha site.This location was much less disruptive to the townscape of historic Robertsbridge and avoided dragging traffic through the village on the way to the A21.
We worked with the Neighbourhood Plan Group towards a recommendation of 100 units in the draft plan. In parallel we submitted our detailed planning consent, which the Council allowed to be slightly delayed until the Neighbourhood Plan was "Made". In the event, in summer 2017, the Inspector called for an oral hearing, inviting all the interested developers. Add Architects were a key witness in overcoming some initial reservations the Inspector had about the Mill site. The outcome was that he confirmed the 100 units in the Neighbourhood Plan and Planning Consent was granted in 2018