Wealden Council has approved a development strategy for the district covering the next 15 years.
Formal adoption was agreed on Wednesday at a full meeting of the council. It followed advice from a government planning inspector who said the council’s core strategy was sound.
The plans include the building of 1,000 new homes to the west of Uckfield and retain a controversial clause restricting development within 7km of the Ashdown Forest unless mitigation measures are included in any proposals.
Cllr Roy Galley, Wealden cabinet member for planning and development said: “This core strategy allows for growth to take place in those locations best suited to new schemes and where it is needed to provide housing and facilities for young people, families and our growing number of older people. The aim is to have the right development in the right place.”
Cllr Galley added: “An approved core strategy is essential to safeguarding the Wealden countryside and protecting us all from unwarranted development.”
He went on to say the council was determined that while maintaining legal obligations to protect the Ashdown Forest local economic and community life should not be stifled.
“We are confident that, through a range of measures including travel plans, changing working patterns and low emissions technology, solutions can be found to allow necessary and appropriate development to continue within the 7km protection area without damaging Ashdown Forest.
“It will mean applicants will have to approach proposals in a different way but by grasping the importance of this issue early, we are devoting the necessary resources to this work and taking a lead.”
Cllr Galley said Wealden was working closely with experts at Natural England, with specialist support and with neighbouring authorities Mid Sussex, Lewes and Tunbridge Wells.
“We are encouraging and working with applicants themselves to bring forward innovative solutions and ideas in order to meet this 21st century challenge of balancing the natural environment with economic growth in this crowded part of our country.”
Our previous stories about the core strategy include: