IN the small community of Coldwaltham, feelings are running high in a long-standing wrangle over plans to build new homes on a field where horses now graze.
The row has been going on since 2009 when Raglan Housing first put forward proposals to develop homes next to existing housing at Silverdale and for the past five years there have been many amendments and discussions.
The latest plan is for four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom homes for rent by people with a local connection.
But it has not been met with any more enthusiasm than previous plans.
Stephen Hill, who is concerned about noise, residential amenity and traffic, is among the objectors.
“This has been going on for so long and Raglan seem hellbent on building something on that field at any cost,” he said. “It started off with plans for 12 houses and it has now come down to eight. They seem to want to go to any length to get something on this land. I think they would be happy with a single shed if they could and the residents just can’t understand why.”
After the birth of the South Downs National Park Authority, its own planning officers became involved in the application. But this has only fuelled the anger of residents.
“New documents keep being uploaded on to the website, there are amendments and comments from officers. It’s beginning to look more like a blog than a planning application. There should be a strict process that they stick to, with plans going up and residents objecting,” said Stephen.
It was not just the way it was being handled and the objection to the houses, but he believed the design was also inappropriate.
“It looks as if its going the same way as the St Margaret’s Convent development in Midhurst. If the national park planners show the same incompetence they seem to have displayed there, we are going to end up with the same sort of inappropriate housing.”
Coldwaltham parish councillors recognise the demand but object to the latest plan, saying they want to see ‘affordable housing which reflects the area in which we live’.
They added: “This issue has gone on far too long and with increasing lack of concern for the views of local residents.”
The South Downs Society said: “The design and materials form a bulky appearance and do not complement the existing surrounding properties. We do not feel this design meets the very high standard required in this national park location.”