Wealden leader calls on housing boss to ‘significantly’ reduce targets

Government housing targets should be lowered, according to the Wealden District Council leader in a letter to the housing minister.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 11:04 am

Bob Standley wrote to Christopher Pincher MP following a meeting in May with other local authorities, which have all raised concerns over the government target, according to the council.

A council spokesperson said, “The number of developments Wealden District Council is expected to support in the coming years to meet government targets should be significantly reduced - and funding from developers to pay for vital infrastructure across Wealden should be made available within a year of planning consent being given for new homes.”

The council leader said that while permission for 7,500 new homes has been given across the Wealden district, against an annual requirement of 1,221, under current government five year land supply rules the authority is only able to show a 3.6 years supply, which means it is often unable to turn down planning applications.

Wealden District Council, Hailsham SUS-160527-111423001

The spokesperson added, “The council is currently working on its new local plan and is liaising with the Planning Advisory Service and the Planning Inspectorate to enable robust and constructive challenge to its processes and approach to plan making.”

Councillor Standley said the council was committed to having a new local plan adopted by 2023 and keeping to an agreed timetable to achieve it – but said that assurances also need to be provided that there will be necessary infrastructure funding to support the growth.

Of particular concern is the high number of homes the council is expected to provide, according to the spokesperson.

Councillor Standley has called on the government to review its methodology – currently based on 2014 population projection data.

Wealden District Council leader Bob Standley. SUS-210601-114205001

He said, “We are serious about meeting our housing needs and understand that this is the starting point for establishing our requirement through our local plan, but we feel that it is critical to be clear that this is the right starting point, backed by evidence.”