More than 40 business leaders from Uckfield and Crowborough have expressed their fury at what they see as zero economic growth in North Wealden since the seven kilometre rule was imposed.
At last week’s packed meeting of the Crowborough and District Chamber of Commerce they told Wealden Council officers the Ashdown Forest Habitats Directive is having a negative impact on the local economy.
Chamber president Jeremy Woolger explained: “At previous meetings Wealden’s representatives insisted that economic impact was non-existent or negligible. This is not what we hear from businesses in the seven kilometre zone and we wanted to present evidence to support the problems they are facing. From the mood in the room it was quite clear that many are struggling to trade under the regulations. The policy restricts business development and expansion which in turn prevents job creation. Three vacant sites in designated industrial areas in Crowborough have the potential to create 16 - 20 extra light industrial units, and possibly 100 new jobs but owners have been told not to bother applying for permission as it would be refused.”