Plumpton Parish Council

Housing targets and “Special Measures”

The Parish Council notes that some residents are under the impression that housing targets have already been scrapped; this is not true. Even our MP Maria Caulfield was careful to concede that this is something the government plans to change and Lewes District Council (LDC) remains bound to the government’s high targets for any new plan. The latest planning minister has admitted that there is no timetable for change and so nothing in law or policy has been revised yet. Worse still, the draft new National Planning Policy Framework includes, unchanged, the calculation which doubles the minimum housing number LDC must start from. The “Eton new town” is massively unpopular, but LDC must seriously consider it. In fact, under the government’s calculation, LDC would need 4 or 5 Etons! This means that the “Eton new town ” remains a very real threat and could even be much larger. The suggestion by the developers that agreeing to Eton will save the rural villages from over development is not true.

Worryingly, in her latest Newsletter dated 28th May, Maria Caulfield says Recently Michael Gove has put 9 councils in special measures for not having Local Plans and I am asking him to do the same for Lewes …“. So, she is threatening that if the elected local council does not toe the line, central government would remove planning powers from LDC, making it even more likely that the governments planning inspectors would continue to approve the speculative developments like Nolands that are highly profitable for developers, whilst doing little or nothing to provide much needed truly affordable homes for local people.

The truth is that Lewes has got a local plan that runs to 2030 but the government, showing their lack of respect for local democracy, changed the rules, allowing planning inspectors to give less weight to existing local and neighbourhood plans. LDC are already working to renew the local plan but it’s time consuming given the current legal processes it must follow.

We really need everyone’s continued support to protect our village and similar villages across LDC.  Consider joining the Campaign for the protection of Rural England (CPRE), Don’t Urbanise the Downs (DUTD) and let your MP know the depth of feeling on this issue.