Employment provision within Wealden for the future would be preferred by the district council in the south along the A22 corridor.
As the council draws up a Local Plan to cover the period to 2037 it recommends initially considering the town centre of Hailsham, then options on the edge of centre followed by sites close to, and part of, new housing provision there.
The council also looks at business areas in an issues, options and recommendations document which will be the subject of a consultation beginning next month.
Two of the business areas relate to Uckfield, are included within the existing core development strategy and are said to remain relevant to the new plan.
They are the Ashdown Business Park at Maresfield and land at West Uckfield, on the site where 1,000 new homes are due to be built.
The district council’s issues, options and recommendations document says there are a number of business estates, in particular at Hailsham and Uckfield, which have seen the introduction of trade counters. In some instances shops and food outlets are now commonplace.
“A recent trend for change of use from industrial units to churches and gyms has also taken place, changing the nature of these estates.
“It is not clear whether these new uses are brought about because of vacancies in these estates, nor is the impact upon more traditional businesses known.”
The document goes on to say that recently the Government has allowed the change of use of certain business units including office and storage units.
“The options for future businesses areas are to let the market dictate the future of this resource or to provide policies to guide business development. Based on the overall vision to stimulate economic growth it is considered that it is necessary to consider policies in order to achieve the overall Local Plan objectives.”
The council’s preferred option, on which feedback will be sought from the public during the consultation, is to “reconsider business areas within the district and create new categories, particularly to take into account where new uses have taken place and where new uses may be appropriate, particularly within towns and edge of town centres”.
The preferred option is to retain traditional estates and the traditional mix of uses out of town, taking into account the type and accessibility of the estate and the market and to consider opportunities to extend or intensity existing successful estates and the provision of new areas.
Business development and the economy is just one area of life in the district to be covered by the new Local Plan.
The plan will look at:
- The homes and jobs needed in Wealden,
- Retail, leisure and other commercial development;
- Infrastructure – transport, telecommunications, water supply, flood risk, coastal change management, and energy;
- The provision of health, security, schools, community and cultural infrastructure and other local facilities;
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation, conservation and enhancement of the natural and historic environment, including landscape.
The complete Local Plan: Issues, Options and Recommendations can be seen here
It will be considered by the council’s local development framework sub-committee on September 25.
Public consultation on the document is due to begin on October 19 and exhibitions are planned across the district so that people can ask questions of planning officers and councillors, and provide feedback.
The consultation closes on Monday, November 30.
An exhibition is due to be held at Uckfield Civic Centre on Tuesday, October 27, from 2-7pm.
Other exhibition venues and dates which will cover the same material include:
- Crowborough Community Centre: Thursday, October 22, 1.30-6.30pm
- Hailsham Civic Community Hall: Saturday, October 31, 10am-2pm
- Wadhurst, Uplands Community Centre, Tuesday, November 3, 2-7pm
- Heathfield Youth Centre, Saturday, November 7, 10am-2pm
- Hailsham Civic Community Hall, Friday, November 13, 2-8pm
- Polegate Community Centre, Saturday, November 14, 10am-2pm.