LETTER: Sussex is suffering

The Sussex Express frequently reports on the council’s attempts to find sites for new housing.

Yet alongside these stories are many others on attempts by local people to stop new housing developments encroaching on their communities.

So is the number of locals needing housing really going up that fast? For several decades now, the annual number of deaths in East Sussex has exceeded the number of births. In addition the average number of children per family has consistently fallen short of the stable population level of two kids per mum and dad. The population should therefore be falling, yet we are repeatedly told we need more properties.

And a recent publication from the Local Government Boundary Commission suggests why. It foresees the number of voters in the Lewes District Council area increasing by a staggering 9.7 per cent between 2015 and 2021! On average that’s 9.7 per cent more cars on our roads, 9.7 per cent more people needing to see a doctor, 9.7 per cent more customers queuing at the supermarket checkout and so on – and all in just six years.

So what on earth is going on?

The answer would seem to lie some 50 miles to the north. Census data from 2001 and 2011 shows that over that 10-year period the population of London went up by nearly a million. But at the same time the number of people ticking the census form as ‘white British’ actually dropped by over six hundred thousand. In other words, large numbers of Londoners are leaving the city and spreading out into the towns and villages around because London itself is simply becoming too overcrowded. And Sussex, like the other Home Counties, is suffering the knock-on the effects.

The question our local authorities should therefore be asking themselves is this: “Just how much longer should we go on taking orders from central government to build, build, build?” And what central government in turn should be asking itself is: “How many more millions of people from overseas are we going to allow into this small, already overcrowded, island?”

John Harvey

Newhaven Rd, Rodmell