More than 9,000 houses could come to Hailsham under new plan

Wealden district council offices, Hailsham SUS-141012-133210001

Wealden district council offices, Hailsham SUS-141012-133210001

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Hailsham could nearly double in size under a new local plan proposed by Wealden District Council.

The council wants to see up to 9,380 new homes built in the town by 2037, which would represent a proportional growth of around 97 per cent.

The potential growth comes as the council looks to adopt a new planning framework for where new houses should be built in the area.

Hailsham has the largest level of potential development under the proposed plan but other towns in Wealden are also set for significant growth over the next 22 years.

Polegate and Willingdon could get a further 1,000 homes, while Heathfield could see 800 new homes and Stone Cross around 500.

Several villages in Wealden are also expected to grow under the plans with 350 new homes in Westham, 230 in Herstmonceux and 30 in Pevensey.

Hellingly could also have 30 more houses, 50 in Windmill Hill and 20 in Maynards Green as well as a number of smaller potential developments in villages across Wealden.

The proposal also includes plans to improve the roads, shopping centres and other infrastructure around the district as more houses are built.

Any large scale development is unlikely to take place in Hailsham and south Wealden until this infrastructure is in place.

This includes changes to local water treatment works, which are not expected to be completed until 2022.

Cabinet member for planning, Ann Newton said, “We do not expect a second phase of growth in the south to begin until seven years’ time, allowing for many of the currently planned infrastructure improvements to take place.”

Overall the council aims to allow 12,750 houses to be built in the area by 2037 – more than required under the current government guidance – as a way to ensure development only happens in areas the council believes to be sustainable.

Around 2,300 of the new houses are designed to make up for the shortfall in housing from neighbouring councils, mainly for Eastbourne Borough Council.

The proposed plan will be discussed by the council on September 25 before full details are sent out for a six-week public consultation from October 19.

Council Leader, Bob Standley said, “The local plan recommendations will enable Wealden District to expand its economy and achieve increasing prosperity in the expanding economy of the south east.

“The plan period stretches ahead over 20 years to 2037 and gives us an unprecedented opportunity to plan for our generation and the generations to come.

“The number of new homes may surprise some but they reflect the need across Wealden alongside a wider responsibility to help meet the future housing needs of neighbouring authorities. With the extended period we have chosen for the new Local Plan, we can plan for an era of growth while retaining our highly-prized landscape and environment.

“It is important that, with the new housing, we also deliver the required infrastructure including healthcare, school places and transport links as well as employment opportunities.

“We need to have vision to take this opportunity to plan ahead for a brighter future. We need to plan because if we don’t, we will get unplanned development which will not give all the benefits our communities need.”

Full details of the plan will be available on Wealden council’s website and at community centres across the district.

Residents can discuss the proposal with planning officers at seven public events to be held in the coming weeks.

More details can be found on the council’s website here.

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