HAILSHAM: ’We can’t take all these new homes’

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HAILSHAM and Hellingly will be on the receiving end of the biggest chunk of housing development in Wealden under plans to govern construction across the district.

Wealden District Council is asking residents, businesses and groups for their views on its proposed Core Strategy - a document which will guide development in the district over the next 20 years.

But Liberal Democrat Wealden District Councillor and Hailsham Town Councillor, John Blake, has branded the 1,300 extra dwellings allocated to Hailsham and Hellingly as “excessive”.

This figure comes on top of the 1,645 properties which have already been built or are in the pipeline, which means that Hailsham and Hellingly will see the lion share of development with 2,945 dwellings.

In comparison, Uckfield will see 1,000 new homes built over the next 20 years and 700 new dwellings have been allocated in Polegate and Willingdon.

“I think that once again, the district council has put an excessive amount of housing in Hailsham in comparison with the remainder of the district,” said cllr Blake.

“The consequences of such a large amount of development, on top of that which is already taking place in Hailsham and Hellingly has not been fully thought through, especially the effect on the road systems and the inadequate infrastructure.

“The fact there has been a fast rate of construction does not mean in my mind that it should continue at that level,” he added.

But Wealden says the Core Strategy will ensure a tougher policy on securing the necessary new infrastructure to support growth by requiring the release of development land to be conditional on the necessary infrastructure being provided.

If given the go-ahead, developer contributions towards affordable housing will be increased to 35 per cent on new developments of five houses or more.

The previous non-statutory plan set contributions at 30 per cent for developments of 10 houses or more.

Councillor Roy Galley, cabinet member for planning and development at Wealden District Council, said, “We’ve listened to a great many differing and often opposing views when drawing up this Core Strategy to outline the most sustainable approach for future growth in Wealden,”

“We have carefully assessed all the views and weighed the evidence we have gathered.

“We believe the strategy proposed provides the best and most reasonable balance between meeting future needs and our capacity to accommodate growth,”

Individuals and organisations can make representations about Wealden’s Core Strategy for six weeks from February 14 to March 28.

The representations will be sent to the Planning Inspectorate who will be examining Wealden’s proposals on behalf of the Government.