Thank you for your recent email concerning planning in Wealden.
I am very grateful to you for drawing your views to my attention. However, my ability to influence such situations is limited, given that planning is the responsibility of the local authority, Wealden District Council.
I trust that you have formally contributed to this specific planning application during the consultation phase and have also made your objections known to your local Councillors. If you have not yet done so, I would encourage you to do so as emails to your MP are not included in any official decision on the application.
I appreciate you may feel frustrated following the collapse of the Wealden Local plan, and how this leaves applications with the Council. However, planning is a locally devolved matter and as such there is nothing it would be appropriate for me to do in order to influence current or future planning policy or applications in any way.
I recognise that without a ratified Local Plan, Wealden is vulnerable to speculative development. The earliest the new Wealden Local Plan is expected to be ready to be voted on by residents, and than ratified is Spring 2023. Therefore, until this is in place, Wealden will have to respond to applications it receives, some of which may not be appropriate or in the best interests of the Wealden constituency in the longer term. If you check my record you will see that I am working with all the neighbouring MPs and with the government to ensure that Wealden does have a Local plan in place, as soon as possible to make it less vulnerable to applications that may be speculative or damaging to the historic and environmental nature of much of the Wealden constituency.
Personally speaking, I would welcome the right type of limited development, that respects Wealden’s rural nature, and protected areas such as the Ashdown Forest and SSSI’s. Wealden planning should be appropriately sustainable and truly affordable, allowing local people the opportunity to purchase homes in the areas they live. I would also strongly encourage the necessary infrastructure, that is so crucial to any future economic and building development alongside the existing community, being given the proper forethought and centrally involved in the planning process from the outset for every application.
It is Wealden District Council that have the legal imperative to set planning policy and while I will continue to support them to do this in a reasonable way when asked, local planning policy must be properly taken forward by them directly. To reiterate, I am working with all my neighbouring MPs and directing all my energy to ensure that Wealden District Council is supported to bring forward a successful Local Plan that residents across Wealden can support.
I will, of course, follow the Council’s individual decisions going forward closely and I always appreciate residents taking the time to let me know their views on applications under consideration and the issues they feel should be considered as part of any potential development.
Thank you again for contacting me.