The Wealden Local Plan is rejected

8th January 2020

Planning Inspector Louise Nurser has written to Wealden District council advising that the Local Plan be withdrawn due to the ‘duty to cooperate’ and the “the lack of constructive engagement with neighbouring authorities and Natural England in respect of impacts on habitats and landscape and in respect of the issue of unmet housing need in Eastbourne.”

Nurser found that the council’s approach to modelling the impacts of vehicle emissions on the Ashdown Forest was not supported by adequate evidence. However, the Inspector does recognize that ” the council may be entitled to take a different view from the advice of a nationally important body” (i.e. Natural England)

So what next for Wealden? There is certainly scope for challenging Nurser’s findings, but if a new local plan is drawn up, it is important that there is not a ‘free for all’ in terms of planning applications as this could do huge damage to a district that is largely characterized by beautiful countryside. We hope that Natural England will now use its influence to help avert this disaster, otherwise, its role as an environmental watchdog is questionable…