LETTER: This is ‘Localism’ in action

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Is it a good plan for Newick to release 45 acres of greenfield sites to build 300-400 new houses?

This was the question posed by the council planners back in 1962.

A Newick Village Plan was made and the houses built in the 1960s – 70s. This has kept the village alive and thriving with shops, clubs, societies, a fine school and all the necessary facilities and services.

It could even be described as a town planning success in creating a fine, re-invigorated village community. But the village does not now need to continually expand as is envisaged in the latest decision-making.

The recent appeal decision at Mitchelswood Farm on the edge of the village is to allow up to 50 houses there, which will be on top of the 100 shown in the current approved Newick Neighbourhood Plan.

There is now a clear likelihood of further planning applications to follow for even more housing, no doubt referring to ‘precedent’.

Newick will be losing the special qualities of a village. Does Lewes District Council truly recognise the merits of a village and does it wish to keep Newick as a village rather than letting it slowly turn into a town? Surely, new housing should be provided in the Lewes District Council’s area, in locations where it will be of benefit, in the same way that Newick benefitted back in the 1960-70s.

The Mitchelswood appeal decision has prompted the inevitable question as to whether all the recent hard work in preparing the current Newick Neighbourhood Plan was worth it, now culminating in the dramatic resignation of many of the Parish Council members at their meeting on November 29.The Parish Council was in action again at the ‘Extraordinary’ meeting on 9th December.

It was poignant to see that the table used for the meeting is now just half the size of that used at past meetings, with just four councillors quietly and nervously trying to cope with the agenda.

This is ‘Localism’ in action.

Tony Turk

Leveller Road, Newick