WASP is an Alliance of Planning and Green space interest groups dedicated to protecting and enhancing green spaces in Wealden by challenging both local and national policy makers on planning and policy adversely affecting quality of life in Wealden
SO WHY SHOULD WE ALL BE WORRIED?
Currently Wealden will be planning to build a MINIMUM of 1225 houses PER ANNUM - 24500 over 20 years - which would increase the number of houses in Wealden by about 36%. The figure may be higher if Wealden are forced to build extra numbers for neighbouring areas such as Eastbourne. This is in spite of ONS (Office of National Statistics) figures which show Wealden population would only expect to rise by about 10.5% over the same period.
This is an increase from 450 houses per annum which Wealden had as a target in their 2013 Core strategy - so almost TRIPLE
Since May 2020 Planning Applications have been GRANTED for around 2400 new properties. This means Planning Permission has been granted for over 8,500 houses, many of which are as yet unbuilt. The fact is developers control the market and decide what’s good for them and when to build.
Developers continue to plan homes which are not the kind of housing we need in Wealden. In South Wealden, assessed housing need states that the area ideally requires about 80% 1 and 2 bedroom properties to balance the housing stock, whilst developers ignore this genuine demand and submit plans for developments with 70-80% 3 and 4 bedroom homes.
By contrast, in North Wealden, development is creeping onto the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). In fact over 50% of Wealden is protected as within the High Weald AONB, Pevensey Levels and Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation. So where will all this development take place? A field near you?
It's also calculated that Wealden can only supply about 25% of the required jobs for the new population - meaning that new residents will either be remote workers or commuters. So where is the infrastructure, and how do we provide integrated infrastructure to thousands of commuters in an area which has declared a Climate emergency?
Thanks and acknowledgement to Heathfield Green Space for some content shown here
SWOT is a WASP member and "sister" organisation and lives on Facebook. It has over 1,000 members and was the "original" team set up to influence the now-defunct 2015 Wealden Plan. You will find a lot of interesting input and discussion on the SWOT group page, which you can reach HERE
HEATHFIELD GREEN SPACE are a WASP member with an excellent website, and frankly we don't see the point of re-inventing the wheel. There's lots of great information, so please go and look HERE
THE "SECRET" NEW A27 ROAD
Many will be aware that there are currently some improvement works taking place along the A27 between Polegate and Lewes? However, how many of you know that there is a well-developed campaign, supported by local Councils and MPS, to build a completely new dual carriageway? What's concerning us however, is what comes first, the chicken or the egg? See our article HERE
FOLLOW PLANNING APPLICATIONS
As Wealden have decided not to notify local residents about new Planning Applications, we have decidec to publish the weekly list of Planning Applications to Wealden on our website.
In fact, we're going to keep the list, so you can look back!
For our list, please click HERE
To see these and older lists on the Wealden website, click HERE
As much as we are concerned about the number of houses being built, we are equally concerned about the environmental issues which arise from the building. Since 75% of jobs for new homes in Wealden involve commuting, and roads are generally NOT being improved, then traffic pollution is a real consequence, and of special significance is the increase in particulates. WASP is very involved in this, and in the coming months we plan to increase the monitoring of particulates across the district, enabling us to see very quickly if levels rise as building and traffic increase.
ADDITIONALLY for news on Air Quality representations to the government, click HERE.
Please note before reading the article that WASP have referred WEALDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL to ClientEarth and asked them to review their Climate Policy in light of the volume of planned development
ARE YOU CONFUSED BY ALL THIS PLANNING STUFF?
Then we hope you might find our basic guide to Planning terminology helpful.
You can find it HERE
20 MINUTE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Both in the Wealden Plan documents and Local Plans like the proposed plan in Hailsham, much is being made of things being "within easy reach" as a living concept. The "20 minute neighbourhood" is a concept launched in the USA but spreading quickly and now being advocated for the UK.
Should this concept be the backbone of our future planning? See the article HERE
Wealden District Council have released their SHELAA (Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment). This shows all land which has come forward for consideration for potential development, though it's inclusion should not be taken as a firm pointer that it will be developed.
For the existing 2019 document, please click HERE
For a guide to the new map and to see new sites under consideration, click HERE
For our own cut down and easy to view maps, click HERE
WASP CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT ON PLANNING - SEE HOW MUCH THEY CARE!
WASP have written to Boris Johnson and Robert Jenrick (the Minister responsible for Housing) to urge them NOT to make Planning easier, but to change direction to prevent developers controlling the housing market. We also copied this to many others. See the latest HERE