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Monday, 15 October 2012 13:53

Update: Wealden South

Written by John Hurwood

Wealden District Core Strategy

The Examination in Public of the WDC core strategy has been completed, and we were generally pleased with the WDC approach. The Inspector has presented his interim findings which unfortunately bring forward the end date from 2030 to 2027, thus increasing the annual build rate, but we are pleased to see that he has (almost) ruled out building on AONB sites at Heathfield, a position that we adopted. It was interesting watching the antics of the developers and their expensive representatives who repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, pushed for the inclusion of their sites in the strategy, including (as expected) yet another push for Honey Farm, we assume that we now have a breathing space till 2027 before they start again.

The routine planning applications continue, with few sites where we feel any need to comment, if local members think that any proposal needs our comments please contact me.

Since 1 April all planning in the southern part of Wealden South is the responsibility of SDNPA and we hope that their website will function fully in the near future.

Monday, 15 October 2012 13:50

Update: Wealden North

Written by Gary Marshall


CPRE is always keen to encourage appreciative, informed and sympathetic use of and access to the countryside. With this in mind I raised the issue of "glamping" (that is glamorous camping for the uninitiated) in May's High Weald Network meeting at Blackboys and this was discussed at length (particularly with regard to glamping in woodland) at September's meeting at Flimwell with the directors of the High Weald AONB Unit, representatives from The Ramblers and our former director Stuart Meier who chairs the High Weald Network meetings.

It is clear that in the High Weald AONB - which has a high proportion of its land designated as ancient woodland - there are many instances of woodland (ancient and secondary) being used for "glamping". Such use ranges from official sites with planning permission - through to mobile shepherd huts or lodges or just a few yurts or teepees that are truly temporary in nature and come and go with the seasons. The "season" though can well be from Easter to a warm October as much as 8 months of the year.

While glamping may prove to be be a fad, nevertheless it can damage woodland (ancient and secondary) from trampling of ground flora, to disturbance of woodland fauna (macro and micro) and even destruction of precious ancient woodland habitats. The view of the meeting was that glamping in ancient woodland should not generally be allowed and that careful consideration should also be given to requests to allow camping in woodlands of any kind. A key factor to bear in mind is the density of the glamping units and the size of the ancient (or other) woodland as well as more obvious planning points such as protecting the environment, infrastructure; waste disposal; access; sanitary needs etc.

It was also felt that since camping in woodland can easily be hidden from the public gaze, there may be a perception that the landscape is unaffected by such use - when this could result in a pernicious degradation of the landscape as a living, sustainable, biodiverse and - although such a word is subjective - beautiful entity.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article - we are keen to promote the enjoyment of the countryside in all its aspects but glamping and related activity is a current trend of which we should all be aware. Of course appropriate camping has been carried out for many decades in woodland - as with the Scouts and Guides - but the current trend towards luxury and semi-permanent structures can easily place more strain on the countryside - and on woodland in particular.

Report: Gary Marshall

Any relevant information regarding this can be passed on to Gary Marshall, through our Blackboys office at Tel: 01825 890975 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 15 October 2012 13:47

Update: Wealden North

Written by Georgia Wrighton

Breaking News

The Wealden District Council and South Downs National Park Authority submitted its Core Strategy to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination in August last year. The Hearing sessions have now closed but the Examination of the Core Strategy remains open until receipt of the Inspectors Report. The Inspector’s Report will be sent to the Council for fact checking by the 19th October 2012. It is likely to be in the Public Domain in early November.

Controversial Issues

... include the Ashdown Forest, seven kilometre development exclusion zone and the refusal of a scheme to build 160 new homes at the back of Heathfield Police Station because they would intrude onto the ANOB.

Monday, 15 October 2012 13:34

Update: Rother & Hastings

Written by Stephen Hardy

Bexhill Link Road – Shock Decision

The Planning agenda for both Rother and Hastings has been shaken to the core by the Secretary of State for Transport finally after ten years’ of valiant campaigning against by the local CPRE and other bodies including the Hastings Alliance, deciding to give the go ahead to the severing of the Coombe Haven SSSI and much more unique countryside by the Bexhill Hastings Link Road. Not only will the road be a massive waste of national and local taxpayers’ money as it will at least at one end (Baldslow Down) be not reaching its intended destination – the A21, its justification has been so far as ESCC is concerned is that it will open up areas for housing and commercial development. Yet the proof of the wrongness of the decision is that no developer who has been contacted has indicated any willingness at all to contribute their own money to the cost of the road. Arguably the only one small blessing – if the road does actually get built - is that it will relieve some of the pressure on rural villages in Rother who would otherwise have to accept large numbers of houses up to the end of the plan period in 2026.


The effect of NPPF should be to spur both Hastings and Rother to finalise their development frameworks because the tighter their frameworks, the less the vague NPPF can be used by developers to dump inappropriate development on our countryside.

Monday, 15 October 2012 12:52

Update: Wealde

Written by Justin French-Brooks

Wealden District Core Strategy

The recent examination in public of the Wealden District core strategy has had a profound effect on planning in our district. The planning inspector proposed modifications to Wealden’s strategy to reflect the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive. This in turn prompted Natural England to revise its advice to all planning authorities, and Mid Sussex DC to suspend all planning decisions in the vicinity of the protected Ashdown Forest. We welcome this turn of events, as it has focused councils’ minds on the need to balance development with protection of endangered animal species and habitats. It remains to be seen if the result will be a more sensible balance in favour of the environment. We will be watching closely.


Monday, 15 October 2012 12:46

Update: Lewes

Written by John Kay

Newhaven incinerator

The incinerator is now operational.

Peacehaven wastewater treatment plant

This giant facility has now disappeared underground, and will soon be processing Brighton's sewage.

Lewes District Core Strategy

Planners have been considering the consultation responses to the draft version of the Core Strategy, plus the implications of the NPPF, for almost a year. The submission version, containing urban and rural housing targets, is now believed to be imminent (expected to be published mid-October).

Proposed Clay Hll reservoir

CPRE argued strongly and effectively against the inclusion of the proposed Clay Hill water storage reservoir, near Ringmer, at the Inquiry into the 2009 South East Water WRMP (Water Resources Management Plan), on environmental and landscape grounds. Our reservations were largely accepted in the Inspector's report. The team preparing the revised WRMP for 2014 has now decided to omit Clay Hill from its feasible options, though a number of alternative reservoir options are still under consideration.

Waste disposal by land raising

CPRE's opposition to changing the Wealden landscape by tipping thousands of tons of domestic and commercial waste onto unspoilt coutryside has also been successful. The final version of the East Sussex, Brighton & Hove Waste & Minerals Plan, currently subject to Examination, dismisses the landraise options in favour of increased recycling and recovery of the materials present.

Local issues:

CPRE successfully opposed planning applications to develop a large elderly care facility on a greenfield countryside site near South Chailey (refused by the Planning Applications Committee, against officers' recommendations) and a premature application, in advance of the Core Strategy and the Newick neighbourhood Plan, for residential development on a SHLAA site at Newick Hill (withdrawn in the face of opposition). Having a stand at the Lewes District Summer Fair was a successful, generating a great deal of interest and discussion.

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