Warning over homes’ pressure

THE COUNCIL has warned that schools could be pushed to breaking point if housing plans on the border of town are allowed to pass unopposed.

Eastbourne Borough Council chiefs said Langney’s infrastructure would be put under intense pressure if Wealden District Council build 692 homes on the edge of its land.

Forty-two homes have already been built on green land north of Pennine Way or are on their way.

Leader of the council councillor David Tutt said, “If you live in Eastbourne at the moment there’s a real problem in terms of primary and secondary school places.

“There’s a lot of pressure for new schools and there are no clear plans from the county council if they are going to be provided and where.”

The district council has committed to building 4,711 homes by 2030 and in its master-plan it earmarked land near Friday Street Farm - on the border between the two councils - for 692 dwellings.

The borough council fears Eastbourne’s identity could be swamped in a spreading urban sea, extending to Stone Cross and Westham.

“We believe it’s important to maintain a distinct identity for Eastbourne rather than getting an urban sprawl where you cannot tell where one ends and the other one begins,” said Cllr Tutt.

David Phillips, head of planning and environmental policy at Wealden District Council, said although a large site had been identified, the whole area would not be developed.

“This allows us sufficient latitude for Eastbourne Borough Council’s concerns regarding the possible blurring of the boundaries of Stone Cross and Langney to be taken into account when we come to identify specific sites for development,” he said.

At a cabinet meeting last week Langney ward councillor Troy Tester said the area could not sustain an influx of residents on this scale.

He claimed the roads were too narrow for the increased traffic and community facilities would struggle to cope under the weight of newcomers.

Residents were up in arms when plans to build 38 homes in nearby Penrith Way were given the go-ahead by the district council last year.

Cllr Tutt said people living in Pennine Way and the surrounding area would feel the impact of further development.

“At the moment residents have these very pleasant view of open fields and we want to see that maintained.

“If Wealden build here they’re going to rely on Eastbourne for their infrastructure, their schools, leisure facilities and shops.

“We don’t believe there should be development south of the railway line,” he said.

The borough council’s cabinet sanctioned a letter to be sent to the neighbouring district council with their objections to the plans last week.

If Wealden chooses to ignore these concerns and plough ahead, the borough council will oppose the plans.

The district council also proposes to build 1,265 homes in Polegate and Willingdon, which fall outside the borough council’s jurisdiction.