Rother & Hastings District Update June 2022
CPRE Sussex activity in Rother & Hastings District
Perhaps the most significant news for Rother area is that one of its MPs, Huw Merriman, has, we think, agreed with many of the points we and other protection groups have been urging on him for the last couple of years. Recently he has indicated he wants to see developers charged Council Tax twelve months after permission has been granted rather than when development is complete. He also wants to see Councils able to add back into their ‘approvals’ all permission that have already been granted but not been built out. He is working with a group of 20 or so other MPs to get these proposals into the new Levelling Up Bill.
On the applications front, there has been no let up in the number of ‘major’ applications coming forward for villages in the High Weald AONB. ‘Major’ should always be assessed in relation to the size of the community being added to, not in simple numbers terms.
I am not sure what the good people of Burwash (where Rudyard Kipling used to live) are thinking now. Their Neighbourhood Plan was halted before referendum when a developer launched a High Court case complaining that their site had not been included, The Judge upheld the Neighbourhood Plan, but shortly afterwards, the site, which was already in the Planning Appeals queue, was granted permission by a Planning Inspector.
A CPRE objection helped create success in Hastings where a key green space on Barley Lane in the centre of the town was refused development into housing – after the owners had totally destroyed all trees and vegetation on the land prior to submitting their application.
Hurst Green, who are gallantly through Covid, trying to produce their own Neighbourhood Plan, are beset with two major applications for housing, north and south of the village centre. Neither of the sites were in their own proposals and this highlights a problem shared by other Neighbourhood Plans, where they are forced to compete against the delays inherent in their own journey to approval, and such proposals which run counter to the actual plans being meticulously discussed in the Neighbourhood Plan process. We have advocated that a mandatory pause should be placed on any major application being dealt with once a Neighbourhood Plan has reached the Reg. 14 stage.
Stephen Hardy MBE
9 June 2022