THE SMALLEST OF WORDS in official planning documents can make a radical difference when the appropriate time comes to build houses on building sites.
That is the point of view of two senior councillors who want Wealden District Council to change wording in a planning Core Strategy report to say a ‘maximum’ 700 houses will be built at Hindsland/Morning Mill Farm near Polegate – instead of ‘around’ that amount. They want the same change for ‘around 9,600’ homes planned for the region.
‘Around’ is considered far too ambiguous by county and district councillors Stephen and Daniel Shing. They fear the word could give leverage for developers pushing for more homes in the future.
Last week the Sussex Express reported that a public consultation had been launched by Wealden with the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) on ‘modifications’ [changes] to the region’s Core Strategy, ending May 23 2012.
The original consultaton start was put back a few days, said the Shings, when they raised concerns about the word ‘around’ being allegedly inserted into the revised document.
Cllr Stephen Shing said: “It is obvious the additional word of ‘around’ is added to Modifications of the Core Strategy by the council, not from the [planning] inspector who is independent of the council.”
Cllr Shing also called for more details on the provision of community and education facilities.
Wealden District Cllr Daniel Shing said: “Our group has tried hard to reach the agreement with Cllr Galley to change the word ‘around’ to ‘maximum’ without success. As a consequence, we have had no choice but to call-in these changes for debate in committee. ”
A district council spokesman said: “The wording in the consultation document was agreed with the SDNPA and submitted to the Planning Inspector following round table discussions at the Examination in Public of the Core Strategy.
“It is now the turn of the public to make their views known through the current consultation on the Modifications.
The Inspector will then decide if changes are needed to make the Core Strategy sound.”