Maresfield councillors subjected to ‘unwarranted’ accusations

The clerk of Maresfield Parish Council has spoken out about an increased number of “unwarranted and inaccurate comments and accusations towards the council, some of its councillors and volunteers”.Maresfield village sign

Tony Allen points out in a newsletter that these people are all volunteers and give up a lot of their personal time, so such comments could be hurtful.

“Yes, of course, the council should be open to criticism, it is after all a public body spending your money. All we ask is that any criticism is constructive, informed and made in a respectful manner,” he says.

Mr Allen makes his appeal at the same time as giving an update on the progress of the Maresfield Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Confusion

He says some confusion has arisen following the submission of two major planning applications for a total of 45 new dwellings in Maresfield. They are for 25 new homes on land between the Park Farm development and the A22, which have been approved by Wealden Council, and another to build 20 homes on land adjoining Mill Cottage, to the north of London Road, and next to Bonners Primary School.

Mr Allen says as part of a site selection process for the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan councillors did have discussions with both Rydon Homes and Asprey Homes – who are responsible for the planning applications – and with 12 other promoters of potential development sites in Maresfield.

He says: “All 14 sites and development proposals were comprehensively assessed for the sites assessment part of drafting the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) and three were adopted by the steering group and then the council for inclusion in the draft NDP.”

50 homes

Mr Allen says the Wealden Local Plan allocates 50 new homes for Maresfield village and if the Rydon Homes and Asprey Homes planning applications are approved along with an application for the final five homes then the allocation will have been satisfied.

“Our emerging draft NDP would then have to be modified as it would no longer need to allocate specific development sites.”

He points out that any of the 14 developers could have submitted a planning application for up to 50 dwellings at any time since the adoption by Wealden District Council of its core strategy.

Consultation

Mr Allen stresses that the emerging draft NDP is currently being further developed by Wealden with regard to habitats and environment assessments and when it was finally completed it would go out for full formal consultation to all parishioners and statutory consultees.

After the consultation the NDP would be appropriately updated and then sent via Wealden to a planning inspector for assessment. Following that it would be subject to a whole parish referendum and would only be adopted if over 50% of those voting were in favour of it.

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