Consultation on the planning blueprint which will shape the district

Next Thursday afternoon an exhibition is being held in Crowborough to give local people the opportunity to give their views on the Local Plan which will guide development in the district over the next 22 years.

Local-Plan-Have-Your-Say

The exhibition at Crowborough Community Centre between 1.30 and 6.30pm is the first of seven being staged in towns across the area.  At each event Councillors and planning experts from Wealden District Council will be on hand to answer questions and explain the recommedations in the Local Plan.

The plan proposes that 12,750 new houses be allowed, in addition to 7,200 dwellings that have already been approved or allocated in the district.  Most of the growth is recommended to take place in the southern half of the district.  Under proposals Hailsham would be allowed to double in size, and Polegate and Willingdon could get 1,000 new homes.

The large number of new homes in the south is dependent on the possible diversion of the A22 around Hailsham, improvements to the A27, as well as improved waste water treatment facilities.

‘Plan A’ is for Crowborough to get only 140 more homes, in addition to the development off Walshes Road and houses granted on appeal at Steel Cross.   The capacity for growth in and around Crowborough is restricted because of the Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area and the wider High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

However the AONB does not guarantee no houses will get built as the granting of the Steel Cross development by a Planning Inspector after initially being refused by Wealden’s Planning Committee shows.

Wadhurst would get 285 homes and Mark Cross 20.  The area on the edge of Tunbridge Wells would get 320 homes nearby Bews Yew Green 20 and Frant 50.

The Local Plan also covers ‘Plan B’ if restrictions to build near the Ashdown Forest are lifted.  In this unlikely scenario, Crowborough would get 1900 new houses (see more here).

The Local Plan is over 300 pages long, but once downloaded residents can search the document (by pressing the Ctrl and F keys simulaneously on their keyboard) for the sections that relate to their town or village.

Councillor Ann Newton, Cabinet member for Planning said:

The new Local Plan will herald an important period of growth for parts of the District.  The Local Plan, which highlights the need for some 12,750 additional new homes to be built by 2037, should be seen as part of a wider growth agenda across the whole country.  The Plan includes an economic strategy to meet the need for jobs and safeguards to ensure that necessary new infrastructure is delivered at the same time as the new homes.

The Local Plan is a comprehensive document.  Residents will be able to view the sections that interest them and I hope come along to one of the seven public exhibitions to discuss the proposals with our planning officers as they take part in the consultation.  We want our plan for Wealden’s future to be your plan too.  This consultation gives you the opportunity to make your views known.

To allow enough time for people to look at the plans and visit the exhibitions, the consultation period has been extended to eight weeks.  It will now run until Monday 14th December.  Hard copies of the plan can be viewed in Crowborough Town Hall and Crowborough Library.  Or a copy can be downloaded here.


If you can’t make the drop-in session in Crowborough here are the other dates and venues:

Venue Date Time
Crowborough
Community Centre
Thursday 22nd October 1.30pm to 6.30 pm
Uckfield
Civic Centre
Tuesday 27th October 2pm to 7pm
Hailsham
Civic Community Hall
Saturday 31st October 10am to 2pm
Wadhurst
Uplands Community Centre
Tuesday 3rd November 2pm to 7pm
Heathfield
Youth Centre
Saturday 7th November 10am to 2pm
Hailsham
Civic Community Hall
Friday 13th November 2pm to 8pm
Polegate
Community Centre
Saturday 14th November 10am to 2pm
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