Pledge made to continue lobbying government over ‘unacceptable’ housing targets

2nd March

Wealden District Council has passed a motion setting out a renewed pledge to continue lobbying the government to reduce the number of new homes it expects the council to provide in the coming years.

It follows on from various meetings between Wealden leaders and senior government ministers and officials to press the point that while the council recognises the need for new housing and the required infrastructure, Whitehall’s proposed numbers are too high given that more than 60% of Wealden is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or other protected designation.

The motion agreed by the Full Council includes asking the government to suspend the 5 Year Housing Land Supply requirement, or for the 5 Year Housing Land Supply calculation to include all approved development permissions; for government to abandon the Duty to Co-operate with neighbouring councils in regard to the housing supply numbers; change the standard method for calculating housing need so that it is reflective of real housing need; remove the affordability factor which increases our housing numbers by 40 per cent and suspend the use of the Housing Delivery Test – a mechanism which measures the number of homes delivered in the district against the number of homes required.

The council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for planning, Councillor Ann Newton said: “As a council we are already heavily lobbying government and we are optimistic that government is listening. We have made it very clear our numbers are far too high and completely unacceptable.

“I have regular meetings with our counterparts at neighbouring authorities in East Sussex as do our officers. We have written joint letters to government on the subject and, regardless of political persuasion, we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.”

Council leader Councillor Bob Standley said: “This motion reflects where we stand as a council and the hard work that has already and will continue to go into this important issue for our communities.”