Disgrunted residents have labelled a planning committee “a shambles” after they approved plans for nine homes on a historic site in Steep.

David Wilson Designer Homes has been granted permission to build the small estate on land off Church Road opposite the war memorial.

The site next to the village hall was donated in 1866 to the “poor of Steep” with the scheme including three “generously sized” affordable two-bedroom homes.

A village green will separate the almshouses – which will remain affordable in perpetuity – from Church Road with the remaining six open market homes clustered around a cul-de-sac.

The plans were approved by the South Downs National Park Authority on Thursday (April 11) with members like Janet Duncton lauding the “interesting styles”.

But they dismissed the views of many villagers in granting permission, as there wasn’t a single letter of support for the scheme.

Charlotte Duffy highlighted the village’s near “unanimous objection” to the scheme while Alison Driver, Steep parish councillor and trustee of the Steep War Memorial Club, dismissed the village green as a “glorified verge”.

She said: “Steep Parish Council isn’t opposed to development occurring here but are seeking a proposal to create a positive legacy: this isn’t it.”

Another villager bemoaned the lack of a single visitor parking space and dismissed the findings of a traffic survey as it was conducted during a partial lockdown when schools were closed.

But their complaints fell on deaf ears, as only two members didn’t go with the recommendation for approval, leading to one villager calling the decision a ‘shambles’.

“This is an allocation site – it’s an acceptable scheme and it’s difficult to understand why we would be objecting to it,” said committee member, Alun Alesbury.

“It seems to me they are actually attractively designed dwellings and they fit in with the general environment.”