Hailsham weighs up its future

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The first steps in looking at the future of Hailsham and deciding what action should be taken to improve the town for the benefit of residents and visitors look set to be taken next month.

The first formal meeting of the Hailsham Area Action Plan (HAAP) Steering Group takes place on February 2 at 2pm at the Wealden District Council offices, Vicarage Lane, with members of the public invited to hear the discussion.

The Steering Group comprises town, district and county representatives as well as people from the environment, health and business communities. It has been formed to oversee the development of an Area Action Plan for Hailsham and the surrounding area. This will propose specific planning policies and guidance for the area alongside the wider Wealden Local Plan.

Cllr Ann Newton, chairman of the HAAP Steering Group said: “The Wealden Local Plan sets requirements for Hailsham to accommodate extra housing through to 2037 - this is part of the national growth agenda.

“Because of this, a programme of considerable change is proposed for Hailsham and the surrounding area over the next two decades.

“The aim is for this steering group to oversee the creation of a plan that identifies the best outcomes for Hailsham - for its people now and in future. This will go well beyond ensuring that any new housing matches the local need.

“It is vital that issues such as the requirement for infrastructure, providing jobs, increasing local skillsets and wages are part of the plan. It is also important that leisure facilities and shops are tailored to people’s needs and the community at large is given due consideration.”

The Steering Group will consider how best to progress the work on specific areas including community aspects involving local people, infrastructure, business and retail and the environment.

The Area Action Plan will be developed within the context of the Wealden Local Plan and national and local planning policies and requirements. Like a village Neighbourhood Plan, it forms the blueprint against which major planning decisions must be measured.

Once the plan is formally adopted by Wealden District Council it carries significant planning weight to help ensure future Hailsham development takes place in a managed, planned and co-ordinated way.

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