Changes to the National Planning System – update

fReaders who have been following news about proposed changes to the current planning system will recall that members of Brightling Parish Council recently joined forces with councillors from Burwash, Etchingham, Robertsbridge and Ticehurst to express concerns about how the proposed changes might affect our area. Back in November the group had a meeting with Huw Merriman MP, along with District Councillor Eleanor Kirby-Green and County Councillor John Barnes, to discuss the likely adverse effects of the proposals in the key areas of:

  • · Increased housing burden on Rother when more than 80% of the area is protected by AONB status
  • · Loss of local planning control
  • · Affordable home allocation in new developments particularly in rural areas

Mr Merriman reported that a full postbag from locals along with the disquiet of a number of fellow MPs had already led him to join up with neighbouring Hastings and Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart, to voice concerns in a meeting with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and to write to the Housing Minister.

Following our meeting, Mr Merriman raised with advisors at No. 10 the need to bring pressure to bear on developers who, despite having planning permission to build on land allocated for development, fail to complete on projects. This is leaving Rother District Council hard-pressed to meet even the current housing quota target. He also lobbied to prevent further development on the outskirts of communities until the build-out on allocated land is complete.

Mr Merriman hopes for a further meeting to examine and, we hope, reduce the outcome of the new housing algorithm which, for Rother, would mean an estimated increase from 736 to 1,173 new homes. The Parish Council will keep readers updated on any further news in these pages.


The full report on the Working Group’s meeting with Huw Merriman MP

Huw Merriman’s account of his meeting with the Secretary of State Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP and his letter to the Housing Minister Rt Hon Chris Pincher MP.

Judy Petty
Brightling Parish Council