Concepts of the Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan have been officially recognised by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) in their latest case studies.
The TCPA’s ‘Guide to 20-Minute Neighbourhoods’ identifies eight ‘features’ that any town putting into practice a comprehensive approach to place-making should take into consideration, and ‘principles for success’ taken from the experience of towns and cities creating 20-minute neighbourhoods.
As part of its ongoing work to share resources and learning from different places in the UK, the TCPA has worked with partners – including Hailsham Town Council – to publish case studies to show how different towns are proposing to bring 20-Minute Neighbourhoods to life into fruition.
The Hailsham Neighbourhood (Development) Plan covers the town of Hailsham and entire parish area. It was prepared by the Town Council over the course of many years with extensive input from the local community. The Plan, written by a group made up of members from the community and from the Town Council’s Neighbourhood Planning Committee, proposes a number of policies relating to what infrastructure and development is needed to sustain future housing growth in the Hailsham area, taking into consideration local environment and sustainability, design, housing type, traffic and transport, economy, services and facilities.
The plan does not identify housing numbers or growth as such, which is the role of the Wealden District Council planning authority.
The vision for Hailsham is that it will become a town where people of all ages and abilities can easily access the services and facilities they need for day-to-day life, including schools, healthcare, shops, leisure and becoming more socially inclusive and cohesive, with a range of housing choices and employment opportunities catering for all.
New development should be well-integrated with existing communities, provide supporting infrastructure, make walking and cycling a safe an attractive proposition, and protect important open spaces, habitats and areas of biodiversity.
Town Clerk John Harrison commented: “It’s been a very long journey with the development of a neighbourhood plan for Hailsham and the fact that the majority of residents who took part in the referendum two years ago voted in favour of adopting the plan was a great achievement for the local community after the amount of work they have contributed from the outset.”
“A big thank you to the TCPA for promoting our case study of Hailsham, which highlights exactly how the neighbourhood planning sector plays a major part in this new evolutionary form of community design, infrastructure fulfilment and place making.”
Councillor Mary Laxton, Chair of the Neighbourhood Planning Committee commented: “We’re extremely grateful to the TCPA for publishing information on Hailsham on their website and social media pages – and for carrying out associated publicity, including an interview with myself as chair of the committee.”
“There is an ever-increasing interest in establishing places where people’s daily requirements can be met within a short walk or cycle, and the benefits of our vision for Hailsham include increased activity levels for residents and subsequent improvement to their mental and physical health, a potential reduction in traffic and improvement to air quality, local shops and businesses thriving and strengthening community bonds as a result of people seeing their neighbours.”
The Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan received overwhelming support at a referendum held in May 2021, when electors for the whole of the Hailsham parish were given an opportunity to vote on whether to accept the document/plan.
Cllr Laxton added: “The Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan as a whole has been informed by and responds to extensive consultation and engagement with residents and is being produced for the benefit of local people, having given them real opportunities to help influence the way in which Hailsham is developed in the future.”
“Now that the plan was formally adopted by Wealden District Council, when looking at Hailsham planning applications up to 2028, the Local Planning Authority will have to take into consideration the policies contained within the neighbourhood plan.”
Terry Hall, Communications Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
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