So the draft proposed submission of the Wealden Local Plan has been published. It would appear that the figure of new homes originally proposed has been cut to 7,000 homes.
Hailsham is looking at a further nearly 4,000 instead of the 9,000 originally suggested.
It’s a weighty document of over five hundred pages, as it should be in describing how this whole area is going to look in ten years’ time, but it doesn’t make it easy to extract the information you are looking for.
It would appear that the cries of “Too much!” have been heard, but there are still a lot of homes to be built, and more are definitely needed.
One wonders whether the figure was pitched so high at first knowing that there would be an outcry, and knowing that a lower, but still significant figure would be greeted with relief. But that would be devious, wouldn’t it?
There is much talk of infrastructure but one wonders how realistic it is. Improvements to the A27 were recently announced which some are already saying are not enough.
It needs a dual carriageway between Polegate and Lewes. The new plan alludes to an alternative A27 route, even after the millions have been spent on the upgrade. Considering the amount of opposition such a proposal would generate though one cannot help but wonder how realistic such an idea is.
In fact the track record for putting in place adequate infrastructure is not good.
Waiting for news on the new Hellingly school for example, it is now unlikely to be in place for a September 2018 opening, whichever trust is in charge! Roebuck Park in my parish was built without any community provision. Doctors’ surgeries are buckling at the knees trying to cope with the growing numbers of patients around Hailsham.
Roads are gridlocked even without the roadworks in Hailsham town centre. Who, I ask, is going to wave the magic wand and make it all happen?
I care about all this. As Church of England vicars we have the care of everyone in our parish; that is the strength of being the established Church.
When I see injustice and people hurting as a result of bad policies and inadequate facilities and resources I care. Rather than breathing a sigh of relief that not so many homes are planned to be built we must study these documents with renewed vigour and call those responsible for enacting them to account for how their plans are going to be delivered. It matters to all of us!