We notice that the Ringmer Neighbourhood Development Plan “Ringmer to 2030” has entered its final consultation stage.
We wonder how many Ringmer residents are aware that the parish council has allocated 345 new houses in their plan – seemingly prioritised on site availability rather than any regard for suitability, appropriateness, community need or, importantly, the views of local people.
With developers additionally eyeing up other sites for potential development, the total could reach over 400 before the end of the plan period.
Ringmer residents said at the outset that they wouldn’t want to see more than 200 new homes built in their village during the period to 2030.
The parish council, itself, conceded at the outset that “no neighbourhood plan which proposed more than 200 or more new houses for Ringmer would have the slightest chance of being approved in the parish referendum that every neighbourhood plan must pass”.
ANY new housing will stretch Ringmer’s already creaky infrastructure – particularly its schools, doctors’ surgery, roads and sewerage works. There is talk of improving Earwig Corner. This will do nothing to alleviate the problem when a further 500-plus Ringmer car users are using the local roads at peak times, not to mention the residents of outlying villages using the same roads. Effectively, the Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan seems to be a lesson in how to destroy a village.
The plan was supposed to represent the views of local people – in line with the Localism Act and the National Planning Policy Framework – indeed, in line with the parish council’s own pronouncements that “…the choice of sites should be made by local people … not imposed from above”.
The Ringmer Plan seems to have been created with little regard for the views of the people and pays only lip service with regard to democracy or ‘localism’. It also chooses to ignore current government policy with regard to developing in residential gardens, considering them “ripe” for development, when there are other less contentious sites being offered – and turned down – for development. Where is the ‘empowerment’ that was supposedly conferred upon local people?
At least when voting at the referendum, we’ll acquire the power that has so far alluded us.
on behalf of the Westbourne Action Group