We were appointed by Retirement Villages to support a scheme for an extra care retirement village comprising up to 84 units to the west of London Road, Albourne. We prepared a Transport Statement and Travel Plan to support the planning application, which was refused in 2019. We subsequently acted as expert witness to support a planning appeal for the scheme.
Whilst no objection was raised to the proposals by the highway authority, the planning application was refused with one of the reasons for refusal being that the development was in an unsustainable location that “…would result in a heavy reliance on the private car to address basic day to day needs from local services and shops…” This largely resulted from a lack of services and facilities available within Albourne.
The proposed development included a number of elements aimed to make the development as sustainable as possible. This included a number of on-site facilities, reducing the need for residents to travel, along with a bespoke minibus service that would allow for residents to travel to nearby towns by sustainable means if necessary. This was combined with existing public bus services that provided regular access to Burgess Hill in a short 20 minute bus journey. In addition, a shop was proposed on the site providing for the day to day grocery needs of residents. This was also proposed to be made open to the public, such that the ability of existing residents in Albourne to travel sustainably would be enhanced.
Following the preparation of a Proof of Evidence and subsequent expert witness provided by us at the appeal, the Inspector determined that “…the appeal scheme would be relatively sustainable in terms of location to minimise the need to travel…” In combination with evidence given by other team members on other matters, the Inspector chose to allow the appeal.