Neighbourhood plan could be revised in Herstmonceux

Herstmonceux High Street
Herstmonceux High Street

A parish steering group has recommended to councillors that a revised Herstmonceux Parish Neighbourhood Plan be prepared following a public consultation.

The council unveiled its pre-submission Neighbourhood Plan with 17 policies relating to housing development in the parish last year.

The council asked people to review and comment on the plan over an eight week period. The plan is designed to give people more of a say on developments in the area and will become a statutory planning document carrying significant weight in informing local planning decisions by Wealden District Council.

The plan proved controversial and campaign group HX Action Group claimed the council planned to build 70 homes at Lime Cross instead of smaller pockets of development which it said 94 per cent of residents questioned in a survey said they wanted.

More than 300 people responded to the plan and the Herstmonceux Parish Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group met the district council and Action in Rural Sussex to discuss options for the plan’s future. This included whether to proceed with it, to prepare a new plan or abandon the plan and let Wealden District Council seek out a selection of sites for development.

The steering group recommended to full council om March 17 that a revised plan be prepared. The plan would be based on the information to date but with further public consultation, workshops, discussion groups and public meetings.

It said more work should be undertaken on the Strategic Environment Assessment which looks into any significant impact on the environment from policies and proposals in the plan and both the SEA and revised draft plan should be sent out for a six week public consultation.

The district council launched its Local Plan for housing in Wealden up to 2027 last year. Its next stage is to undertake a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment to identify potential development land in the parishes including Herstmonceux. The call for sites in parishes will be published in May and any sites put forward for Herstmonceux will be made available to the parish council.

In a letter to residents, the parish council said: “The site allocation is an important part of the Neighbourhood Plan. Twelve sites were offered by landowners and developers to the Neighbourhood Plan process to accommodate the 70 dwellings required by the Wealden Local Plan.

“The parish council considers that it is important to consider any additional sites to those previously submitted to Herstmonceux Parish Council in June 2013.

“Therefore, the Herstmonceux Parish Neighbourhood Plan has been put on hold so that any additional sites can be included in the discussions about site allocations in the draft plan.

“The council will make the details of all sites available to residents from September 2014 and a decision made by Herstmonceux Parish Council on how to proceed with the Neighbourhood Plan.”

Wealden District Council will advertise its call for sites in parishes in May and this will also be put on parish noticeboards, parish newsletters and the parish website.