All development within 7km of the Ashdown Forest which would increase recreational and traffic pressures on the forest must mitigate its own impact.
Wealden District Council has confirmed this policy position which is in line with its emerging core strategy policy.
A council document states: “The council is actively now working on developing an interim (off-site) mitigation strategy, in advance of a formally adopted Development Plan Document, so that there is a wider scheme available to support the development of 'windfall' housing sites.
“It is likely that a financial contribution would be required to deliver the mitigation scheme. It is anticipated that this would contribute towards forming or improving a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) in the locality, which would off-set the impacts of additional recreational and traffic pressures upon the European Protected sites.”
The council said in a statement: “Part of the core strategy housing provision strategy, including its scale and distribution, was governed by the environmental constraints imposed by the Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation/Special Protection Area (SAC/SPA).
“This has significantly limited more housing development around the Forest, in order to protect the European habitat from both recreational and nitrogen deposition impacts. The Inspector has endorsed the approach of limiting and reducing the impacts of development on the Forest.”
The council added: “It is now considered that the combined strength of guidance within the NPPF (the new government planning framework), taken along with the advanced stage and anticipated soundness of the Core Strategy affects all new development with recreational and nitrogen impacts to The Forest.
“This is now a determining issue for all current planning applications within 7km that have intensification at their heart.”
The council says it may take at least three months or more for interim guidance to be formed so that adequate mitigation for windfall sites is agreeable.