200 new homes will be constructed on the Blackfriars site. The homes will comprise of a mixture of 2, 3 and-4-bedroom houses and 1-2 bedroom maisonettes.
The Blackfriars site has been allocated for development for more than 50 years. The site was first allocated for housing in 1967 in the Battle Town Plan and then in successive plans up to the 2006 Local Plan. The development at the Blackfriars site was granted planning permission in April 2021.
In advance of and following the granting of planning permission, extensive work has been undertaken by Rother District Council’s Development Team and Planning Department to ensure that the Blackfriars scheme will have a positive impact upon Battle and its residents.
The development, which features 70 affordable homes as well as several passive houses and earth sheltered properties, will provide much needed high-quality, sustainable homes for the residents of Battle. The Blackfriars development will also provide allotments for some residents and public green space for the wider community.
Both contractors working on the development will not only build the highest quality properties, but will also deliver added value to the local community by supporting local employment, training and organisations.
All 200 of Blackfriars’ homes have been designed to be low-carbon dwellings and will be constructed to maximise the use of solar energy and renewable energy technologies. The development will also feature several passive houses and earth sheltered properties; both of which are designed and constructed following highly sustainable principles. The development will also provide Electric Vehicle Charging Points for many residents to support the transition from diesel and petrol vehicles.
Construction on the site will begin in Spring 2022 with Breheny Civil Engineering who are responsible for delivering a new road through the development that will connect Harrier Lane and The Spinney. This will be followed by the construction of the 200 homes which will begin in Summer 2022, managed by Wates Residential.
It is anticipated that the construction of these homes will be completed in three phases, with the last of the properties reaching practical completion during 2024.
The housing at Blackfriars will be a mixture of private sale, shared ownership and affordable rented properties, which means that the homes will be available to buy or rent. There are a variety of house types and sizes to provide choice for occupants, such as homes for those who wish to downsize and young households wishing to own their first home.
Shared Ownership housing is a form of low-cost homeownership (leasehold sale) whereby shares of the lease are acquired normally between 25 to 75% with the option to buy more shares until the resident owns the property outright. This enables first time buyers to access the market without needing large deposits and mortgages, a key barrier for those trying to access their own homes in Rother. The remaining unowned share is retained by a housing association and a small rent is charged on this share. Further information will be made available on the Rother District Council website as the scheme progresses, sign posting residents to the sales of the scheme, including to the low-cost homeownership options available.
Affordable Rent housing is rent charged at up to 80% of open market value (normally capped at local housing benefit levels). Due to the very high demand and low supply of affordable rent, these homes will be limited to those households who need them the most. This includes only eligible households of Rother District Council’s housing register in accordance with the Council;’s adopted Housing Allocation Policy. Eligible households considered to have a local connection with the ‘Battle Parish Cluster’ will be given priority over others on the waiting list. For more information on affordable rent, to check eligibility and to apply to join the Council’s housing register, please visit: Social Housing – Rother District Council.
Community Led Housing – The Sussex Community Housing Hub are commissioned on behalf of Rother District Council to support local communities to realise their housing aspirations. The Council is keen to support a small community scheme at Blackfriars where feasible. This can include groups setting up Community Land trusts to deliver affordable and private homes. A new group have formed in Battle and can be reached via Facebook at ‘Battle Community Led Housing Group’. Alternatively, contact the SCHH for further information on community led housing via Tom.Warder@ruralsussex.org.uk.
The site working periods for both the road construction and the building of the residential houses will be between the hours of 08.00 to 18.00, Monday to Friday, and 08.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays. Both contractors will keep working on a Saturday to a minimum and will only do so if absolutely required. We are not expecting any work to be carried out outside of these times, but if any exceptional working is found to be necessary, this will be notified to our neighbours well in advance and only carried out by agreement with the Planning Authority.
At the current time, the construction programme for the housebuilding works does not anticipate any Saturday working.
Emergency contact details for the construction teams will be included on the introductory letters from the principal contractors. Site agent telephone numbers will also be added to easily visible signage at the site entrances.
Any initial enquiries regarding the Blackfriars scheme should be directed to Breheny Civil Engineering’s Site Agent, Harayshan Pirabaharan, on 07399528626. Calls to this number will be monitored and dealt with as quickly as possible.
The planned site works activities are not anticipated to result in significant vibration impacts or cause noise nuisance to the local residents.
Disruption to neighbours and the local community will be minimised by adhering to agreed working hours and adopting best practise with regards to site plant/equipment operation. In addition, machinery will be fitted with noise dampers and the contractors will continually monitor noise and vibration and take necessary remedial actions as appropriate.
There is no plan for night working. The only time night working may be required would be in the event of an emergency for example if an event has occurred during normal working hours that would result in a Health & Safety or environmental issue if left unattended.
Yes, the existing Public Right of Way (PRoW) running across the site between Kingsdale Close and the Emmanuel Centre will be affected by the construction works.
We have applied for a Temporary Closure of the PRoW (FP76) for occasional construction access but, in recognition of the amenity to the local community, we plan to fence off the initial construction area at the north end of the site from mid-April 2022 and keep the PRoW and the south end of the site open for public access in the short term before the main construction of the road begins.
We will continue to carry out additional surveys around the south end of the site and we may need to have light construction vehicles occasionally cross the PRoW in a safe and controlled manner.
However, as the construction works progress, we will need to completely close the FP76 PRoW to ensure public safety.
The FP76 PRoW is anticipated to be completely closed for the duration of the construction works from September 2022 and be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.
The existing Public Right of Way (FP77) running adjacent to the site will remain open and unaffected for the duration of the development works, with safety barriers and directional signage erected.
The attached annotated plans describe the phasing of works and the accessibility of FP76 PRoW.
Please refer to the question above with regards to the closure of the footpath. During the initial road construction works and site preparation works, the site will be fully secured with Heras fencing, and with safety signage installed to prevent unauthorised access.
Prior to commencement of the house building, the site will be further secured with a 2.4m high timber hoarding with CCTV security cameras. For safety, the site will be completely closed to the public.
No, the scheme will not currently provide for direct access to the train station. However, our proposals future proof for the possibility of a footpath connection to the station.
The project ecologists have previously undertaken approved translocation of wildlife from the immediate construction area at the north end of the site to retained unaffected zones, including to adjacent woodland areas.
This will allow us to commence the initial site preparation and road construction at the north end of the site without detriment to wildlife.
At the same time, our ecologists will be rechecking the southern end of the site and any final translocation of remaining wildlife will be carefully undertaken around May 2022, subject to weather conditions.
All construction works will be carried out in accordance with the relevant ecological and arboriculture requirements, reference documentation and licences, and the works will be continually monitored.
Any tree clearance has been undertaken in full accordance with ESCC Tree Officer approvals and requirements. Additional tree planting, community green space and allotments are planned to be included in the final landscaping around the site as part of the redevelopment works.
The detailed landscaping plan is being prepared and will be subject to final Planning Approval. The approved plans for the landscaping strategy will be available for public inspection on the Rother DC Planning portal once they have been submitted.
General construction traffic and deliveries will use the main road vehicular routes previously agreed with the East Sussex County Council Highways Department and the contractors will endeavour to operate their traffic flow during off peak hours where possible to minimise disruption to the local community. Signage and traffic cones will be placed at site entrances to ensure vehicles do not park and restrict driver visibility.
We will minimise construction vehicle parking on adjacent public roads as much as possible and, to mitigate this, some allocated parking will be made available onsite for our construction vehicles.
The Contractors will deter their site operatives from parking on Harrier Lane and The Spinney and direct vehicles to local car parks as much as possible but it may be necessary for us to have occasional parking of vehicles in Harrier Lane. If this is necessary, the vehicles will be considerately parked and the contractors will undertake regular road cleaning locally to the site.
Dust is generated due to a combination of construction work, dry ground conditions and the amount of plant movements on and off site. We use a dust suppression water bowser to wet the ground at regular intervals throughout the day, which is monitored by a full time operative. The grounds are wet more frequently during periods of extreme hot/dry weather. We also have a road sweeper that attends site at least twice per week, and on request to sweep Harrier Lane and surrounding roads and to remove any debris as required. We have recently increased the no. of sweeps due to extreme weather conditions.
Material deliveries to the site for the initial phase of site preparation and road construction will be via Marley Lane and through to the site access off Harrier Lane to the north of the development site.
By the autumn of 2022 we expect material deliveries to also start entering the south end of the site via A2100 Battle Hill/Hastings Road and The Spinney, thereby providing a secondary access. This will allow us to minimise disruption and we will continue to monitor and adjust traffic flow into our work area if required to reduce impact on local roads.
Deliveries can be expected to be made during site working hours but, where possible, these will be limited to during off peak hours to minimise disruption as much as possible, with the contractors adopting a delivery booking system.
Residents will be allocated parking spaces and there will be a management strategy in place.
The development includes 200 new dwellings and the consented scheme includes 295 on-plot and off-plot parking spaces for residents and visitors, with approximately 70 of these spaces being provided with Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) points. The site will also be equipped with the appropriate infrastructure to enable future installation of EVC’s on other parking plots to be included.
Whilst it is not possible to stop all unauthorised commuter parking, as there is no direct vehicular or pedestrian route to Battle railway station from the development (with the exception of pedestrian access via Knights Meadown/Meadow Bank) unauthorised commuter parking will be naturally deterred. The scheme itself benefits from being a suitable walking distance from the station, reducing the need for car use.
The design of all roads on the development allows for emergency vehicle access to all residential areas. The dual access to the site from main highways and the configuration of minor roads within the development allows for multiple access routes for emergency vehicles.
During the construction works, temporary site drainage, on-site sumps and wheel washing equipment will be used to prevent run-off getting on to adjacent public roads.
The design of the site redevelopment includes new general land drainage, together with dedicated surface water drainage from roads and houses, that will be channelled through new ‘attenuation’ tanks with flow control mechanisms. These details will result in the flow of surface water run-off from the site being significantly reduced from current levels and provide a significant reduction to site drainage and decrease the flow to the watercourse adjacent to Harrier Lane and downstream areas. A drainage plan was submitted and approved as part of the consented scheme.
Much of the residential development will be constructed using ‘traditional’ methods. There will be no modular housing used. However, we are taking advantage of off-site manufactured construction where possible, including use of prefabricated roof trusses.
As the detailed design progresses, we will endeavour to incorporate additional off-site construction where at all possible to bring efficiencies in site work completion and to reduce the volume of materials deliveries to site.
To contribute to improvements to local amenities, the project costs for the new development includes a Community Infrastructure Levy to help fund the infrastructure, facilities and services.
The allocation of the funding to specific areas within the community will be managed by Rother District Council.
Community Infrastructure Levy is the Councils adopted infrastructure on all new housing schemes. The charge provides a fair and transparent means of ensuring that a development contributes to the cost of the infrastructure it will rely on, including schools, transport, flood defences, hospitals, community facilities and other health and social care facilities. More information on the Community Infrastructure Fund can be found on Rother District Councils website.