Hailsham: Building lottery hangs over land

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A BUILDING LOTTERY hangs over the Hailsham area after the district authority asked residents across the region to give their views on where new houses and flats should be built during the next 20 years.

Both residents and commercial companies have been asked to give their views on the future building of 9,600 homes, and also business evolution, in 12 selected ‘strategic development areas’.

The 12 strategic development areas include land to the east and north of Hailsham; south of Polegate and at Dittons Road; and east of Willingdon; and land to the east, south east and north of Stone Cross. 

Residents will also be asked, in the strategic sites consultation document, about matters such as what kind of housing is needed – there is a shortage of three and four-bed homes in South Wealden District.

The public consultation to review Wealden District Council’s ‘Core Strategy’ for planning will be launched early next year, 2012.

Wealden District Cllr Roy Galley said: “Although the Public Examination of our proposed Core Strategy will not begin until January 17, it is important we start the process of narrowing down the possible sites for new development as soon as possible.

“It is still early days and I would stress that these are only options we are looking at, and not firm proposals.”

Developers could be tempted to seek planning consent for homes outside strategic development areas unless a firm plan was in place, according to Cllr Galley.

He added: “We want to ensure that the development that takes place in Wealden over the next 20 years is people led.

“The sooner we start getting local people’s views about the most suitable sites within these 12 areas, the easier it will be to safeguard the rest of our countryside.”

The official Core Strategy by Wealden and the South Downs National Park Authority was submitted to the Government in August.

Planning Inspector Michael Moore has expressed concern about whether the strategy conflicted with housing numbers submitted in the South East Regional Plan for new development.

The issue will be reviewed at the examination next year, following an ‘exploratory’ meeting with 140 interested parties at East Sussex National Golf Resort on October 12.

Mr Moore has also asked Wealden to give a view by December 2 on the total district requirements for homes, not just affordable housing.

For details www.wealden.gov.uk, email ldf@wealden.gov.uk or call 01892 602007.