I, like many other residents of Hailsham, am dismayed at the proposals to build so close to the Pevensey Levels.
However, what has been particularly galling is Wealden Council’s attitude to this. Their response sums this up where a Wealden spokesman says ‘Like other applications we await the resolution as to how we can protect the Ashdown Forest.’ Now, please forgive me, but where in the article was the Ashdown Forest mentioned? The concern is about the land leading to and including the Pevensey Levels, not the Ashdown Forest, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and just happens to be where the majority of Wealden officers and planners live. Wealden must be congratulated on its protection of the forest by setting up a nine kilometre protection zone around it. (I understand that they will not allow a village hall to be built as it comes under their objections to any development in the area). Only last year a Wealden spokesman said on the radio that they had protected the Ashdown Forest and all development was ‘going down south,’ i.e. Hailsham. However, the forest is only an AONB. The Levels are a Sight of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Ramsar Site of international importance. Given the sensitive nature of the ecology in the area it would be interesting to know why Wealden have not pushed for a nine kilometre exclusion zone around the Hailsham end of the Levels as well.
Allowing developers to build on sites such as Lower Marshfoot Lane, where the name actually describes the location well, should not have been allowed. The same applies to the proposed development at Millwood Park.
The other site between Station Road and Ersham Road brings houses to within fifty metres of the Levels. The Saltmarsh Sewer drains directly into the Glynleigh Levels.
Any water run-off from housing and roads will go from the housing downhill into the watercourse where it will have a very damaging impact on the ecology.
Wealden have been saying that environmental studies are being done to assess the environmental impact of the new housing, yet they have already given the developers the go ahead on building. Environmental studies should have been carried out before planning was even considered. (No doubt it would have been if it were somewhere like Crowborough).
Ian Hopkins, B.A.
Archery Walk, Hailsham