Lewes MP responds to 'Eton New Town' being ruled out of Local Plan

Maria Caulfield, Member of Parliament for Lewes, has welcomed the decision of Lewes District Council Planning Officers to deem the ‘Eton New Town’ on North Barnes Farm to be “Not deliverable or developable” and will not be included in the new local plan.
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The proposal from Eton College is to build over 3,000 houses near to the small village of East Chiltington. The plans have been dealt a blow after the decision by planning officers to not put the site forward for consultation as part of the ongoing work on a new local plan for Lewes District.

Lewes District Council has not had a local plan in place since 2021, when the previous plan expired.

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After much pressure from local campaigners such as the group ‘Don’t Urbanise the Downs’, and Caulfield, the Council has finally ruled out the ‘Eton New Town’ in their local plan process.

Maria Caulfield MPMaria Caulfield MP
Maria Caulfield MP

Caulfield said: “I very much welcome this decision by the planning officers at Lewes District Council, I have been supporting local residents in opposing this development from the start and I’m glad that Lewes District Council has listened to residents and have finally ruled out this unsuitable development from their local plan.”

A local plan sets out the policies and framework for the future development of new homes, employment space and community facilities, such as schools. Local plans are evidence led, with the information gathered by council officers informing where new development is appropriate and where it is not.

Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council will shortly consider the latest version of the draft local plan, known as the 'preferred options document'. At a meeting on the 9 November councillors will be asked to approve the next phase of public consultation.

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The government gives every council an annual housing target for new homes built - the target for Lewes district is 602 homes per year, double the previous target.

The North Barnes Farm site is promoted by Eton College and has attracted more comment than any of the other potential locations for housing development. Following detailed assessment by council officers, the evidence has shown that the site is unsuitable and is not being consulted upon in this draft options paper.

The consultation exercise will run until February 2024.