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CPRE Sussex opposes bid for holiday park on historic Sussex site

3rd April 2023

Plans for up to 211 holiday lodges on The Normanhurst Estate would:

  • Place unacceptable strain on an historic landscape
  • Damage ancient woodland and threaten local wildlife
  • Increase traffic, noise and light pollution

CPRE Sussex is objecting to plans for a large holiday park on an historic Sussex site within the High Weald Area of Natural Beauty (AONB).

A planning application for up to 211 holiday lodges on The Normanhurst Estate, Catsfield, is currently being considered by Rother District Council.

The plan also includes amenity buildings, including leisure facilities and a restaurant, new roads and up to 350 car parking spaces.

CPRE Sussex director Paul Steedman said: “It is disturbing to see another holiday park application for the High Weald AONB so soon after campaigners and environmental groups, including CPRE Sussex, were able to defeat Center Parcs’ entirely unsuitable proposal in the same AONB but that time near  Crawley. This is one of England’s finest protected landscapes. This latest application would place an unacceptable strain on the historic landscape.”

In its formal response to the planning application, CPRE Sussex raises three main objections.

The first is the impact on the High Weald AONB, including the visual impact and threat to the integrity of its boundary.

The second is the impact on areas of Ancient Woodland within the site, wider biodiversity and the threat to wildlife including newts, birds and bats.

The third is increased traffic and the associated noise, pollution and pressure on local roads.

The charity is also concerned about light pollution within the High Weald’s dark skies area.

CPRE chair Dan Osborn said: “The developer’s own Environmental Statement admits lakes, woodland and established pasture would be negatively impacted by the proposed holiday park. We urge Rother District Council to protect this historic landscape and refuse the application.”

Our objection to the application (RR/2023/217/P) at the Normanhurst Estate, Catsfield, TN33 9LL is on the grounds of landscape preservation, protection of ancient woodland, traffic and light pollution. You too can object by 11 April.

Some key points from our objection are below:

Impact on the AONB landscape, including visual impact

The proposed development is within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): one of England’s finest protected landscapes.

The developer’s own Environmental Statement concedes that: “The setting of the lakes and established woodland will be negatively affected by the introduction of lakeside lodges, increasing activity and reducing tranquillity… ‘

The development would also place unacceptable strain on this historic landscape. Given the site’s location on the edge of the AONB, development here would place the integrity of the AONB boundary is at risk.

Ancient Woodland and wider biodiversity impact

The development site includes areas of Ancient Woodland, which is an irreplaceable habitat. The National Planning Policy Framework states that development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats should be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists.

The development would also have a negative impact on local biodiversity.

Impacts on traffic and tranquillity

Creating a new 350-vehicle car park at this location, which is poorly-served by alternative sustainable transport modes, is likely to increase private vehicle movements within the area. This appears contrary to net-zero carbon and air quality aspirations, and would place further pressure on the area’s roads.

As well as additional noise pollution from this traffic and the site’s operation, we are concerned about likely light pollution within the High Weald’s dark skies area.


Overall, CPRE Sussex believes that the AONB is not an appropriate location for this type of development, and the protection of the historic landscape and its natural beauty should take precedence.

CPRE Sussex urges Rother District Council to refuse the application.

Read: CPRE Sussex – objection to Normanhurst application

See: details of application and object to it by 11 April: