About 100 responses have been received so far to Wealden Council’s call for landowners to come forward suggesting potential sites for development – and more are expected.
The council’s planning and development portfolio holder Ann Newton told a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee last week that some of the sites were already in the system, and more were potentially new ones.
Those for the Uckfield area were mostly for the south, she told Cllr Helen Firth, who represents New Town. The local councillor was concerned about infrastructure, particularly roads. Cllr Newton agreed with her that the town’s road network needed looking at seriously.
Cllr Newton was answering questions about her report to the committee which said development management was on notice of likely submission of large housing schemes in and around Uckfield.
It said officers were in discussion about these schemes, including with the East Sussex County Council highways and education authority.
Cllr Firth said Uckfield was a one-road town and the way things were, with more and more development – especially one being brought in at the north of the town, which she believed must be part of Downlands Farm – it couldn’t keep up with the volume of traffic coming into it and going through it.
She added that the by-pass didn’t help at all.
Cllr Newton responded saying Wealden relied very heavily on the county council on infrastructure issues, particularly schools and roads.
She stressed: “Planning applications will not be approved if there is deemed to be a serious road issue with the county council.
She added: “I do feel for Uckfield. They are going to have to look very seriously at the road network.”
In relation to Downlands Farm, Cllr Newton said there was a plan in many years ago and she was not sure of its status now, but she would look into that for Cllr Firth. She said she did know of a plan further north for 39 homes.
Cllr Newton told the committee it was difficult for Wealden at the moment because it didn’t have a five year land supply or a local plan.
That meant more applications were coming in. “If we had a local plan all that would very much be on paper ahead of the game, instead of which it is having to be put together as it goes along.”
• Uckfield News has reported previously about large-scale housebuilding schemes looming in the town and listed land which has previously been the subject of housing development proposals. See: Uckfield housebuilding alert: large-scale schemes loom.