Thousands more homes planned


People in Crowborough, Uckfield, Hailsham and Wadhurst have already viewed a travelling exhibition which shows how Wealden must build thousands more homes than previously planned and where they could go.

The District must find space to accommodate more homes to make up a 2,300 undersupply in neighbouring districts, particularly Eastbourne. This exhibition gives an overview of the new Local Plan. And visitors are asked to give their views on proposals as to where homes will be built, where jobs are needed, how shops and leisure centres fit into the community as well as ensuring there is enough infrastructure - school places, public transport - to cope.

Given that large areas of Wealden are environmentally protected, the maximum number of new homes possible would be 19,950. But to do this the Plan period must be extended to 2037. This equates to 832 per annum from 2013 to 2037. However 7,200 of these dwellings have already been approved or allocated under the previous plan. They propose 12,700 houses in 24 years as well as those already in the pipeline equalling 580 a year from 2015-2037.

The bulk of development is recommended for the Hailsham area and the town could double in size with an extra 9,000 new homes. This could be alongside a diversion of the A22 and improvements to the A27. Because development land is restricted in the Crowborough area, the town looks set to absorb another 140 new homes plus those already agreed at Walshes Road and a site granted on appeal at Steel Cross. Uckfield escapes extra housing because of the scheme to build 1,000 south west of the town, unless windfall sites come to the table.

The proposal imposes 800 new homes on Heathfield, 400 on Horam (probably many taken up by the Merrydown site,) 190 for East Hoathly, 230 for Herstmonceux and 185 for Mayfield. Maresfield could take 50, Blackboys 20, Cross-in-Hand, 30 and Halland 30.

Cllr Bob Standley, Wealden Council leader said: “The number of new homes may surprise some but they reflect the need across Wealden, alongside a wider responsiblity to help meet the future housing needs of neighbouring authorities. It is important we also deliver the required infrastructure including healthcare, school places and transport links as well as job opportunities.”

Hundreds have called into community centres in the four towns. Still to come - Heathfield Youth Centre tomorrow (November 7,) Hailsham again, (Friday, November 13) and Polegate Community Centre, Saturday (November 14.)

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