Michael Gove 'sympathises' with concerns about high Wealden housing numbers

Cabinet minister Michael Gove MP and Wealden District Council leaders have met to discuss concerns over the number of houses the authority has to include in its Local Plan

Concerns about Wealden housing numbers
Concerns about Wealden housing numbers

Mr Gove, the Cabinet Secretary of State for Housing, Levelling Up & Communities, had

an online meeting with Wealden council leader Bob Standley and deputy leader Ann

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Newton.

The meeting, facilitated by Wealden MP Nus Ghani, was held on Friday 10 December

and is part of a concentrated lobbying campaign to the government about the high

number of homes Wealden is obliged to provide under current guidelines.

Councillor Bob Standley said he felt the minister understood the concerns raised and

both he and Councillor Newton were encouraged by the responses to their issues.

These included the way the 5-year land supply (5YLS) was calculated. In the Wealden

District Council area there are more than 7,500 permissions for new homes given, but not

built out - with the unpalatable effect that unbuilt permissions mean there is a lack of a

5YLS, which has encouraged further speculative planning applications.

The current use of 2014 population data rather than more up to date 2018 figures was

also questioned.

Mr Gove thanked the councillors for raising the topics and officials say he was clearly

sympathetic to issues and solutions proposed.

Government is reviewing the position and further details are expected early in the New

Year.

Both Councillor Standley and Councillor Newton emphasised what they described as the

importance of getting a new Local Plan in place and said they will, following their meeting

with Mr Gove, continue to raise the issues with other ministers.