Lack of joined-up thinking when it comes to Ashdown Forest, says Observer

UckfieldNews.com independent columnist Observer criticises the lack of joined-up thinking on protecting the Ashdown Forest, praises a great community effort and can’t resist another word on the Uckfield Rail line.Observer logo

Wealden District Council planners must be reeling.

The Courts delivered a knock-out blow to the 7km Ashdown Forest rule and a planning inspector has now allowed a development at Crowborough in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on land not allocated for housing by the council in its core strategy.

It is strange then that the council has decided to put in a new 15km cordon around the Ashdown Forest in which development will be scrutinised to counter potential habitat harm.

I’m all for protecting the Ashdown Forest but there is no coherence to plans.

The 7km rule stopped development because of suggestions that people would drive to the Forest for recreation and, particularly, to walk their dogs.

BUT, the Ashdown Forest is a thriving tourist destination supporting many businesses; the Forest roads are the route many in this part of the world take to Gatwick Airport (which wants to expand) and to more lucrative jobs in the Crawley area; aircraft fly over the Forest all the time.

The SANGS planned for Little Horsted may prevent some trips but a walk on the Forest with its big skies is always likely to be more attractive.

GOOD FRIENDS: Danny Hemsley is a man who could be relied upon to help people. Now after a freak accident he needs help. Great to see people are rallying round. Restores your faith in human nature.

RAIL LINE: So now we know, it will be buses to Crowborough and back during the worst of the winter. It can’t be much worse than the shambolic service endured by commuters on this line in the same period this year.

Can I suggest Southern uses the periods of disruption to do major overhauls on the trains. Reliability has been appalling in recent months.

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