Wealden leader makes case to Housing Minister for reduced housing numbers and infrastructure funding

The number of developments Wealden District Council is expected to support in the coming years to meet government targets should be significantly reduced – and funding from developers to pay for vital infrastructure across Wealden should be made available within a year of planning consent being given for new homes.

That’s the view of Wealden District Council leader Bob Standley, who has penned a letter to housing minister Christopher Pincher MP following a meeting in May with other local authorities, which have all raised concerns over the government target.

The council leader has also said that while permission for 7,500 new homes has been given across the Wealden district – against an annual requirement of 1,221 – under current government five year land supply rules, the authority is only able to show a 3.6 years supply, which means it is often unable to turn down planning applications.

The council is currently working on its new Local Plan and is liaising with the Planning Advisory Service and the Planning Inspectorate to enable robust and constructive challenge to its processes and approach to plan making.

Councillor Standley said the council was committed to having a new Local Plan adopted by 2023 and keeping to an agreed timetable to achieve it – but said that assurances also need to be provided that there will be necessary infrastructure funding to support the growth.

Of particular concern, is the high number of homes the council is expected to provide.

Councillor Standley has called on the government to review its methodology – currently based on 2014 population projection data – and said, “We are serious about meeting our housing need and understand that this is the starting point for establishing our requirement through our local plan, but we feel that it is critical to be clear that this is the right starting point, backed by evidence.”