New service offers twice weekly planning advice

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A NEW SERVICE is being set up in Uckfield for people to call into the Civic Centre and make enquiries about planning matters.

Wealden’s planning team is now providing advice on two days a week in the town. A planning officer will be available to deal with public enquiries about prospective applications and enforcement matters and advise the town and nearby parish councils on current applications.

Planning lead member Cllr Roy Galley said: “We will be trying out this pilot service for six months to assess the benefits of locally delivered services.

“Wealden is one of the busiest district planning authorities in England. Last year we received 2,658 planning applications. As we cover an area of 322 square miles, this approach will help us to provide guidance that reflects the needs of the communities we serve.

“If the six month pilot proves successful, we will consider providing ‘in-house’ planning officers for other parts of the district.”

From this week a planning officer will be based at town council offices in Uckfield Civic Centre on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

People will be able to book an appointment with the planning officer on Thursdays between 9-noon by telephoning: 01892 602010.

Officers will also be able to help with enquiries from the surrounding parishes of Framfield, Buxted, Hadlow Down, Maresfield, Fletching, Isfield, Little Horsted and East Hoathly with Halland.

Uckfield Mayor Cllr John Carvey said: “I am excited about this project to provide residents with a local service. It should ease people’s concerns about the planning process and is further evidence of Wealden providing help locally where it is needed.”

The planning team believes that by offering householders, agents and businesses the opportunity to discuss plans with professional planning officers before applications are made greatly the efficiency of the planning process and the understanding of all involved is greatly improved. And they say it can help avoid costly disappointments further down the line.

This is a joint initiative between Uckfield Town Council and Wealden District Council and it is hoped it will be of benefit to local residents.