Business leaders to lobby minister

editorial image

Delegates from Uckfield and Crowborough chambers of commerce will lobby planning minister Nick Boles in London next month over the 7km Ashdown Forest rule. Representatives from the two business organisations have joined forces over concerns that a ban on new development is stifling economic activity in the two towns and surrounding villages.

Chris Lawson told Uckfield Chamber members that the delegation would see Mr Boles, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Planning, along with Wealden MP, Charles Hendry.

He asked any Chamber members who had seen business developments rebuffed by Wealden District Council because of the 7km rule to let him know if they were prepared to be ‘up front’ about the issue. He already had a number of examples but would like four or five more.

Mr Lawson also said the Uckfield and Crowborough chambers are monitoring planning permissions granted by Wealden to establish whether there were possible inconsistencies in the application of the rule.

The Chambers are concerned with the commercial application of the 7km restriction, for which there can be no mitigation. New housing developments can mitigate their effect by providing alternative green spaces, although Mr Lawson said such schemes could be years away.

David Marshall, Uckfield Chamber president, told the meeting that County has asked for a meeting to discuss its traffic improvements for Uckfield town centre. He said the news that Network Rail had acquired land at the old railway station for a new 139-space car park was “brilliant”.