LETTER: ‘Government should look hard at what their dictates are doing to communities’

In spite of the very determined efforts of Polegate Town Council Planning Committee, our local MP Maria Caulfield and many many local residents to stop it, last week Wealden DC approved the building of 40 houses on the edge of Polegate and, in so doing, stole the last remaining piece of green land to the north of the town immediately behind Greenleaf Gardens.

They also approved the use of a package treatment plant for the sewage as Southern Water have run out of capacity until 2022. Four years ago this scheme was turned down by Wealden DC and their decision was upheld at appeal.

Now, because of government orders, they are forced to approve totally unsuitable developments whatever the cost to the well-being of local residents.

The planning committee were very loathe to approve this scheme but their fear of the legal consequences and costs to the council (ratepayers) when the developer appeals a refusal, not to mention the penalties they would incur from the government for not meeting their housing allocation, overcame their consciences and they gave their approval although one member did vote against and four abstained.

Meanwhile our schools are full to capacity, our two doctors surgeries struggle to keep apace in buildings that are not fit for purpose and our parking problems are truly horrendous. Wealden has recently reconfirmed its intention not to decriminalise parking so we are stuck with countless cars parking in the town all day from Monday to Friday whilst their owners commute on the train.

As more and more houses are built in Hailsham and the surrounding areas this problem can only get worse for us as we are a main railway hub for commuters. Also, our local shops and cafés complain that lack of short-term parking for their customers is having a very detrimental effect on their businesses in what is already an uncertain financial market.

A lot of the two-hour waiting bays on the High Street are taken up by commuters’ cars all day long as their owners know the police have refused to enforce parking offences unless the vehicle involved is causing a hazard. The whole situation is completely hopeless.

The government needs to take a long hard look at what their dictates are doing to communities – especially those in the South East where their insatiable drive for new housing is having a devastating effect on the lives of the local people who have no say whatsoever in where these houses will be built. The ballot box will be their last resort.

Cllr Wendy Alexander

Old Drive