Frustration as Wealden Plan is delayed

Housing news
Housing news

More and more potential housing schemes could be lobbed into the mix, now Wealden District Council has announced its Local Plan will be delayed until the New Year.

The next stage of the Plan - a blueprint for future development - is being extended for three months to allow a number of key studies to be completed.

Wealden’s planning spokeswoman Councillor Anne Newton explained. “We had hoped to be putting forward the Revised Wealden Local Plan this December for further representations but delays in some of the reports from our consultants, many of which are inter-related, and the need to allow for them to be accurately assessed, mean that we will be aiming to bring forward the Revised Local Plan document by the end of the first quarter of 2017.”

She said key evidence not yet complete relates to development on Ashdown Forest. The council is drawing up a picture of what will be achieveable while continuing to protect the Forest.

Parker Dann planning consultant Mark Best said the delay means would-be developers will continue to present ad-hoc schemes in areas where building has formerly been restricted, often outside the development boundaries.

He went on: “This is particularly frustrating for communities where people need to know what is likely to be built and where. They urgently want a planning-led system.”

Katherine Luxton from Crowborough-based Ashdown Planning Consultants agreed. She said: “Wealden is short of housing land supply. We also have the EU’s Habitat Directive, introduced in 2010, which restricted any form of development within seven kilometres of the Forest.

"I have a couple of possible sites and, together with local people, I would like to see land allocated as soon as possible. At this stage people do not have a clue what is going on.”

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