Wealden District Council has completed the next phase of its Local Plan process. This is the submission of the Wealden Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate are appointed by the Secretary of State to examine the Local Plan in public, which is likely to take place later this year.
Also submitted are all consultation responses received including the 2,043 representations received from 372 members of the public and organisations giving their views about the soundness of the plan and on the process followed, as well as responses received from the previous consultation that took place in 2015. These will be looked at by the independent planning inspector when appointed.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the process by making representations,” said Councillor Ann Newton, Wealden Cabinet member responsible for Planning and Development. “All Local Plan documents can be viewed online. The submission documents and supporting evidence base can be view in the Wealden Local Plan Submission Library. The representations submitted during the consultation, which ran from 13 August until 8 October last year, can be viewed on the consultation portal on the planning section of the Wealden website.”
Printed copies of the Submission Wealden Local Plan, Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Regulations Assessment, Proposals Maps and Consultation Statement will be available for inspection at deposit points across the District from 25 January 2019.
Following advice from Natural England, the Council has updated various aspects of the Plan’s Habitat Regulation Assessment. This includes information on the air quality impacts on the Pevensey Levels Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Ramsar Site.
So far as the Pevensey Levels SAC and Ramsar Site are concerned, the submission version of the Habitat Regulations Assessment concludes that there is no adverse effect from air quality impacts of the Wealden Local Plan alone and in combination with other plans and projects (without the need for mitigation). This marks a change from the proposed submission version of the Habitat Regulations Assessment, which concluded that mitigation was required.
As a result certain modifications to the Plan have been submitted for consideration by the Inspector.
The conclusion regarding Ashdown Forest SAC and Lewes Downs SAC has not changed as a result of the further consideration of the advice.
The Council has also updated the mitigation tariff associated with Ashdown Forest SAC and Lewes Downs SAC to incorporate employment development in line with policies contained within the Wealden Local Plan. This has resulted in a reduction of the tariff per dwelling from £3,100 to £2,697. Approved new homes which are not replacing any previous dwellings in the District are expected to pay the tariff. This is to help implement measures to avoid and mitigate the effect increased vehicle emissions will have on the Ashdown Forest and Lewes Downs Special Areas of Conservation.