Ershan Farm - Is council hearing us?

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I FEEL strongly that it is ludicrous that Hailsham fought for 15 years to save its farmers market and now, just six months later, we are having to battle to save one of the oldest, most established, profitable farms.

Why won’t Wealden District Council listen to the views of Hailsham Town Council and the local people? Surely a town council can gauge the feelings of its residents and therefore knows what is best for its area compared to a district council. It puts into question why Wealden even ask Hailsham Town Council for their opinion if they are going to blatantly ignore their comments.

In addition, under the new government guidelines, the planning department is supposed to take into account the sustainability of any development. How can building on the area which contains the farm buildings not render the rest of the farm unworkable and therefore unsustainable? If this farm gets built on, we will never get it back. Just because some people want to make a few pounds, we could lose a valuable farm for generations to come.

In a day and age when everyone is worried about carbon footprint, how can getting rid of a farm whose produce is sold at local outlets as well as the farmers markets make sense – let alone the loss of jobs in the current economic climate? The farm also provides training for, among others, Plumpton Agricultural College.

There is a large pond on the farm which is supposed to be reduced to one-fifth of its size – this pond is a balancing pond and controls the risk of flooding in the area, let alone the fact that the water then feeds the Pevensey Levels, an area of conservation interest.

For those people who aren’t concerned about the maintaining the farm, what about the increased traffic on Ersham Road? All locals know how congested that can be (but apparently not Wealden District Council). The south side of Hailsham has no amenities or facilities to support any more houses.

Apparently none of the above is important! I would therefore encourage anyone who is able to, please object to this application – it isn’t too late and let’s have a show of people power at the next meeting, to be held in the new Wealden offices in Hailsham on August 16.

Claire Billings

Hailsham