Your Association Officer team have been well aware of the concerns expressed by members about the level of housing development being allowed across the constituency and the threat posed by future plans to our precious Wealden countryside, and so it seemed right to give everyone an update.
The District Council has to write a Local Plan, currently by the end of 2023. The process is long due to extended consultation periods.
Under the previous Secretary of State for Housing, councils had to take into account national guidance that meant an effective target for Wealden District of 1,221 houses built per annum for 20 years.
However, councils could argue for a reduced number based on landscape, environmental, economic and infrastructure constraints.
Wealden Council officers were preparing a Plan based on the 1,221 number. When presented with the detail of this, the Wealden Group of Conservative Councillors, on November 22nd passed a motion that they would not support such a Plan, and required WDC officers to prepare a revised Plan, which would produce a lower number.
There are two positive pieces of news now available.
Firstly, Wealden Council officers have started work on a revised Plan.
Secondly, there have been a number of encouraging announcements from the Government which indicate that they will change the targets for the South-East and give greater protection to rural areas, especially designated landscapes. We are hopeful for action on this early in the New Year.
The planning process will go on but we are making progress.
Your Association Officers will continue to keep you updated.
WCCA Officer Team