In 2015, Rother District Council appointed CSA to help them plan the future growth of Bexhill-on-Sea, the main town and administrative centre of Rother district in East Sussex.
CSA were engaged to appraise a large area located to the north of the town, identify the relevant factors that could impact potential future development, and to prepare and assess three potential development options, primarily for new housing.
The success of the work carried out by CSA’s urban design, ecology and landscape teams is neatly summarised by this quote from David Marlow of Rother District Council;
“Thank you and the team at CSA for your work on development options for the Council’s major growth location to the north of Bexhill. I think that CSA’s multi-disciplinary approach, providing a strong landscape and ecological framework for the planning appraisal and combining these in an integrated and iterative way, has been very successful in meeting the Council’s overall ‘place-shaping’ objectives for the area.”
A thorough and multi-disciplinary approach
CSA’s ability to combine expertise in ecology, landscape and urban design meant that despite the complexities presented by the size of the search area (which included topographical considerations, existing areas of woodland and mature hedgerows and the need to consider the impact of proposals for a new local distributor road), Rother Council now have a clear recommendation for a preferred Development Option which will form the basis of an important new housing allocation in their new Local Plan.
The preferred Development Option drawn up by CSA provides for up to 420 dwellings and 34.5 hectares of green infrastructure.
CSA initially undertook an assessment of three potential development options using the Rother District Council’s Sustainability Assessment methodology. This assessment work found the smallest of the three to be the most sustainable and that the other two options would involve the loss of ecologically more valuable grassland habitat and result in coalescence with an adjacent settlement. In addition, the planned new distributor road offered the preferred option much greater containment – regarded as an important factor in maintaining the setting of the town and avoiding visual intrusion into the rural landscape.
A close partnership leading to clear recommendations
Throughout the process, CSA were in close dialogue with Rother District Council, regularly reporting on progress and findings from both site visits and desktop research. CSA’s thorough and detailed knowledge of the local area, gained from exhaustive and meticulous walkthroughs of the Study Area has undoubtedly given the Council the confidence to make a clear and unequivocal recommendation, now contained within the ‘Options and Preferred Options’ version of the Development and Site Allocations Local Plan (DaSA).
“I’m pleased to advise that CSA’s clearly presented recommendations have been incorporated directly into the options and preferred options consultation on our local plan.”
David Marlow, Rother District Council
The document was made available for a 10-week public consultation between December 2016 and February 2017 – the Council are currently collating the responses to this and will be carrying out a further consultation later this year. CSA’s work on North Bexhill is contained within two documents which form part of the evidence base of the DaSA. These can be found on Rother District Council’s website: https://www.rother.gov.uk/dasa
Allocation of the preferred development option is anticipated by June 2018.