LETTER: Desecration of countryside

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Your headline ‘Work begins on major housing development, planning permission for up to 240 houses’ [Herald, April 14] contains misplaced triumphalism. Alas, this ‘new housing development in green field space’ should more accurately be described as ‘further desecration of the Sussex countryside’.

To somehow believe that this major work was able to begin two weeks after Wealden District Council granted planning permission on March 31 defies reality. This development has been scheduled for a decade. And while your report points out an earlier plan was ‘turned down in August 2015 due to concerns about flood management and its proximity to an area of ancient woodland’ how can such valid objections no longer be relevant eight months later? The River Cuckmere has been flooding Hellingly for more than a 1,000 years. Ancient woodlands don’t move unless it is Birnham Wood coming to Dunsinane in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

And where is the infrastructure to support at least another 600 residents? Horsebridge Post Office and general store closed three months ago; Hellingly Primary School is bursting at the seams with children taught in temporary accommodation; the sole mini supermarket has car-parking space for only six customers. Before embarking on yet another major housing development in Hellingly, Wealden’s planners and councillors should remove their blinkers, take their snouts out of the trough and try some joined-up thinking.

They need to provide, at very least, a new school, a medical centre and retail units before covering precious green fields with ever-increasing numbers of homes.

Cdr Roger Paine RN

Church Path, Hellingly

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