Planning Permission and Housing Need: Wealden

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 1st March 2022.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden 11:00 am, 1st March 2022

My hon. Friend and neighbour makes a very valid point. I am going to ask the Minister to consider putting in forward infrastructure funding before developments are fully developed, to ensure that our communities benefit from the new homes that are coming. Of course, Eastbourne has the sea, but it could also—I urge my lovely neighbour to consider this—build up so that we do not have to build out into the area of outstanding natural beauty in Wealden.

Moving across the county, we have the Pevensey levels and the South Downs in the south of Wealden, which cannot be developed, and then we have areas of outstanding natural beauty in the north of the district, including Ashdown forest—the home of Winnie the Pooh—which restricts growth. We therefore have a lot of pressure on areas such as Horam and Hailsham in the Low Weald, which tend to bear the brunt of housing applications. I hope my colleague and neighbour, the hon. Member for Eastbourne, will agree that it is unfair that Wealden has to shoulder local needs elsewhere in East Sussex and absorb the numbers we need for Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes because those towns are unable to deliver their fair share. I hope the Minister can recognise the pressure that Wealden District Council is under and can try to not only deliver greater funding but support its need to push back unnecessary development proposals.