East Hoathly's village corner. Residents are worried about what would happen here if plans for hundreds of new homes are approved.

Your comments: Worries about ‘potential destruction’ of East Hoathly

East Hoathly residents are concerned about over-development as planning applications for more than 360 new homes in the village are submitted.

Village Concerns, an action group, has outlined worries in this email to Uckfield News:

We write to you as very concerned residents from the Parish of East Hoathly about the potential destruction of our village due to over development.

On Tuesday, October 18, the village’s action group, Village Concerns invited East Hoathly and Halland to a public meeting to update them on the situation since the first meeting in May.

We were joined by members of the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) and SWOT (Save Wealden from Overdevelopment Team) who added valuable advice and information. About 100 members of the public attended in the village church.

One of our main aims is to inform and disseminate information regarding the planning process in Wealden and our increasing membership reflects the need. Villagers were advised as to how they can help.

The Wealden Local Plan, in its “Issues, Options and Recommendations” document has allocated 190 new homes for East Hoathly and 30 for Halland, amounting to an increase of 50% dwellings in the village of East Hoathly and 25% in Halland.

However, East Hoathly is now faced with two proposed plans: one for 211 new homes, another for 140 new homes both on green field sites. These proposals will almost double the number of dwellings, turning an historic village into an urban conglomeration.

The latest update is that the Local Plan submission has been delayed until the first quarter of 2017. Yet more uncertainty.

Many have written to Nus Ghani and Village Concerns has invited her to come and join us for a walk around East Hoathly.

She has told us she has been to East Hoathly many times but to our knowledge she has not seen the proposed sites for development. We are asking her to return and see exactly where the homes are set to be built and the impact it will have on the infrastructure and character of the village. So far we have had no reply to our invitation.

 We quote from our MP below in a reply on October 24, as part of a reply to an East Hoathly villager’s concern about over-development.

 “I appreciate your concerns about the scale of development in East Hoathly, however I am pleased that the Government has strengthened the use of the local plan, which has granted more responsibilities and decisions over planning to local communities. The Wealden Local Plan has been drawn up in consultation with local people, so that they can determine where development should and should not go.”

In response to the above quote, we, the residents of East Hoathly, have not been asked where we want development to go – this is being imposed upon us.

There has not been a consultation with local people in that sense, with Wealden District Council (WDC). When WDC are questioned, they say they are being forced to build all these houses by the Government.

There is too much buck passing between the Government and WDC for these highly unpopular and destructive policies. Local people have no voice in this process. This is not local democracy.

Many residents here and in other areas of Wealden, especially Wealden South, are not happy with these policies. Eastbourne to Uckfield may become one non-stop urban sprawl. Green fields and wildlife will disappear forever. Traffic problems will be even worse and the A22 gridlocked.

We also understand that not only is there little or no money to invest in infrastructure but there are few plans to deal with infrastructure weaknesses. It is a bleak future indeed for the South Weald.

Replies from Wealden councillors as well as employees in the planning department are not satisfactory. They need to stand up and reject what the Government is asking them to do. The Southeast is already crowded. Other areas of the UK are in desperate need of regeneration.

I attach a photo of East Hoathly’s village corner which currently sees an average of 200 vehicles an hour and is frequently stuck as the photo demonstrates. If the village gets 400 new dwellings, one can only imagine.

Sincerely,

Village Concerns Steering Group, East Hoathly, East Sussex

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