At a series of meetings held by the Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee, town councillors and residents responded to a number of issues on how the ‘preferred option’ in the recently updated Wealden Local Plan would affect Hailsham in terms of economic strategy, local environmental quality and infrastructure delivery.
At the meeting, it was confirmed that the Hailsham Town Council will support plans by Wealden District Council and other service providers for long-term infrastructure improvements to support future housing developments, subject to a number of questions being answered and assurances made before a formal acceptance of the key ‘sustainability’ issue of the draft plan can be agreed.
Areas of concern that the Town Council will ask to be addressed and both the feasibility and affordability of proposed additional infrastructure demonstrated before full support for the plan can be given include education, medical services, road and public transport, conservation and the environment, employment, tourism, sport and leisure, cemetery grave spaces, utilities and services, emergency service provision and the allocation of social and affordable housing.
It was also decided by the Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee that:
Hailsham Town Council will also work with other local authorities to lobby other major infrastructure suppliers for needs in South Wealden that have been identified as critical to the proposed development.
This includes the major upgrade of the A27 from Polegate to Lewes, major public transport requirements and commercial, employment and retail developments deemed necessary to sustain the housing numbers and growth in population.
“We will continue to work with Wealden District Council and support the Local Plan subject to a number of assurances being met,” said Town Mayor and Chairman of Hailsham Town Council Nigel Coltman, who states it is vital that the infrastructure to support new housing in Hailsham and Hellingly comes either before or in parallel with the proposed developments.
“Hailsham has grown significantly in recent years and will continue to grow in years to come and we have a huge task in front of us in working with partner agencies to secure the necessary infrastructure for our town.”
“Whilst there are some concerns about such an expansion of Hailsham, it offers the opportunity to gain much needed improvements for the town and its residents.”
“I’m looking forward to the next step which is the setting up a Hailsham Area Action Plan steering group and separate Neighbourhood Planning sub-committee, to ensure the needs of our residents – present and future – are met.”
Councillor Paul Soane, chairman of the Neighbourhood Planning Sub-Committee said: “The emerging Wealden plan’s proposals for the scale of urban expansion in Hailsham has been debated at great length by the Town Council.”
“The consensus has come down on the side of pragmatism, and this Council has in its response to Wealden District Council, presented an argument that whatever level of development is allocated to Hailsham, it can only come if the full requisite level of supporting infrastructure is delivered alongside.”
“We are all concerned that previous history of infrastructure upgrades necessary to accommodate growth have failed to be delivered, and therefore, our resolve is to hold Wealden District Council to account for upholding its commitment.”
“Through the recently formed ‘Hailsham Area Action Plan’ steering group, members of the Town Council, will work with Wealden District Council and the key infrastructure stakeholders to formulate a deliverable infrastructure plan.”
Terry Hall, Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
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