With new housing developments being built across Wealden and with plenty more at planning stage – the Wealden Green Party is working with communities to ask: how can we stop the spread?
In September, nearly 70 people attended an informative workshop event in Horam organised by Cornelie Usborne, Wealden Green Party member and county councillor candidate for Wealden East in the 2021 elections.
Horam is one of many communities affected by new housing developments – including a proposed 51-house development on agricultural land on Horebeech Lane. Construction of new-builds in Wealden have more than doubled since 2011 and this figure is set to virtually double again over the next 10 years.
The event featured a series of short presentations designed to inform local residents and equip them to contest planning decisions in the case of unwanted – or unsuitable – new housing developments. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session.
The presentations were on:
Ian Tysh, legal planning expert (presentation here)
Green Party policies on development:
Georgia Taylor, Councillor, ESCC (presentation here)
District Council planning decision-making:
Keith Obbard, Councillor, WDC (presentation here)
Parish and Town Council planning committees:
Simon Cramond, Councillor, Isfield PC;
Colin Stocks, Councillor, Crowborough TC (presentation here)
Success! Green Party Councillors making a difference on Planning Committee North:
Patricia Patterson-Vanegas, Councillor WDC (presentation here)
By giving local people a better understanding of planning law, council decision-making processes and how to effectively contest decisions, Wealden Green Party hopes to help slow the spread of unsuitable developments in the area.
Organiser Cornelie Usborne said:
"During my campaign in the county council elections, overdevelopment was the single most pressing issue brought to my attention. So I vowed I would try and help local residents to defend the countryside and the wildlife all around us.”
“We do need more homes, particularly affordable and social housing. But developers are not interested in social good, they are building four- to five-bedroom executive-style housing on greenfield sites. The wrong houses are being built in the wrong places.”
“It is also a myth that developers are important for the local economy and improve infrastructure. Developers often promise a percentage of affordable housing and admirable local schemes to improve public transport or roads, parks or playgrounds.”
“But once planning permission is achieved much of this is renegotiated down or abolished altogether. No wonder, local anti-planners feel let down in their fight against environmental destruction and the government’s build, build, build agenda.”