At a series of meetings held by the Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee,town councillors and residents responded to how the ‘preferred option’ in the updated Wealden Local Plan would affect Hailsham.
At the meeting, it was confirmed that the Town Council will support plans by Wealden District Council for long-term infrastructure improvements to support future housing developments, subject to a number of questions being answered and assurances made before a formal acceptance of the key ‘sustainability’ issue of the draft plan can be agreed.
Areas of concern that Hailsham Town Council will ask to be addressed and both the feasibility and affordability of proposed additional infrastructure demonstrated before full support for the plan can be given include education, medical services, road and public transport, conservation and the environment, employment, tourism, sport and leisure, utilities and services, emergency service provision and the allocation of social and affordable housing.
It was also decided by the Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee that:
Wealden District Council agrees to and pays for a jointly developed “Area Action Plan” (AAP) to plan for the required infrastructure in advance - The Town Council will continue to work on the establishment of a Neighbourhood Development Plan, at least until such time that the proposed Area Action Plan is developed.
Wealden District Council reviews and updates their approved Wealden Design Guide to ensure only appropriate design development proposals are allowed to come forward during the delivery period.
Wealden District Council will work with Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Groups on the construction of a Hailsham Specialist Medical Centre while funds are available.
Wealden District Council will establish a Revolving Infrastructure Fund (RIF) to meet the increased demands placed on the local area. Hailsham Town Council will also work with other local authorities to lobby major infrastructure suppliers for needs in South Wealden that have been identified as critical to the proposed development, including the upgrade of the A27 from Polegate to Lewes.
Council Nigel Coltman says it is vital the infrastructure to support new housing comes either before or in parallel with proposed developments.
He said: “We will continue to support the Local Plan subject to a number of assurances being met. While there are some concerns about such an expansion of Hailsham, it offers the opportunity to gain much needed improvements for the town and its residents.”
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