Open letter to Bexhill and Battle constituency MP Huw Merriman regarding housing development at Stone Cross:
I write to you in my capacity as chair of the Save Sharnfold Action Group which has since morphed into the Save Stone Cross Action Group.
Our raison d’être is to stop, or at least curb, the seemingly insatiable demands by property developers in their quest for planning permission to build housing estates in and around the Stone Cross area, whose population is already set to double if developers build out the houses for which consents have already been granted.
There has been some success in preventing their plans for housing on part of Sharnfold Farm. However, we recognise that that success only represents one phase in their attempts to convert the farm into a full blown housing estate comprising up to 400 houses.
If consent is granted for such a scheme (together with pressure to build housing south of Hailsham), this would inevitably lead to the infill of housing on, and therefore loss of, the countryside gap between Stone Cross and Hailsham
We anticipate the next step from the owners of Sharnfold will be to launch an appeal and it is here that we seek your assistance.
You will recall the speech by our Prime Minister in which he trumpeted the government’s intent to ensure that brownfield sites should be identified for housing developments and greenfield sites should be protected.
This declaration was seen by us, and indeed by others who are equally appalled by the deluge of housing developments, as the promise of a new dawn.
However, before that new dawn arrives it needs the government to issue the necessary amendments to the legal framework to ensure that the PM’s promises are implemented on the ground.
All we ask is for you to step across the corridor and engage your colleague Mr Gove by pressing him to enact the necessary regulations to activate the promised protection of greenfield sites and to do so as a matter of urgency.
We should add that we’ve written to Mr Gove asking him to hasten the advent of the new regulations but have not received a reply.
We believe that you must be acutely aware of the importance of the rural economy.
We feel sure that you will support our ambitions to preserve rural areas, particularly where the land is productive.
We are asking you to do this via the press because this is a matter which is of concern to so many more people than will be reached through your website. If you care to respond to our request via the Eastbourne Herald you will be communicating your views, and we hope your willingness to assist, to the large number of constituents that read the paper each week.
Please help us by acting now to ensure that the regulations are issued without any further delay and before any more rural land is irreversibly consumed by housing estates.
Other local MPs are invited to join to provide greater force and urgency to this appeal.