Wealden District Council

Election results for 2019

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Most Recent

  1. Council leader: 'Opportunities could come after Covid-19 recovery'

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    A recovery from the coronavirus pandemic could bring "opportunities" for new businesses to come to Wealden, the district council’s leader has said.

    Speaking at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet today, Wealden District Council leader Bob Standley spoke of plans to encourage businesses to relocate to the district as the country looks to slowly recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

    Woman walking on a high street

    The move comes as part of a wider restart and recovery plan for the district, which was formally adopted at the meeting.

    Councillor Standley said: “I think there are opportunities for Wealden. People who have been commuting to London haven’t been doing that, they have been working from home.

    “We have a new way of working for most businesses and some of those businesses may decide they don’t want to be in London anymore and they can work from home in our locality.

    “I think it is important we can encourage those businesses to come into Wealden, because not only will our local economy thrive but they will be using local shops, because they won’t commuting up to London.

    “Where businesses have to close – and unfortunately there will be businesses that close – we need to give as much help as we can for those employees and owners of shops to find new employment.

    “We can’t just go and create new jobs, but we can create the circumstances where it is easier for businesses to thrive.”

  2. Extra housing added to development

    Sarah Booker-Lewis

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Wealden planners have agreed an application to build extra homes at a site in Hailsham.

    On 15 August Wealden District Council’s planning committee south approved an application to build 52 houses on lan off Mill Road.

    Revised plans for Mill Road
    Image caption: The revised plans for Mill Road

    These 52 homes replace the previously consented 34 dwellings on this part of the development site, an increase of 18.

    This parcel is part of a larger development for 175 homes already granted outline approval.

  3. 'Blip' see accounts documents delayed

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Delays to the publication of a key financial document have been described as "a blip" by the leader of Wealden District Council.

    Speaking at a meeting of Wealden’s audit, finance and governance committee, Conservative council leader Bob Standley addressed the publication of the 2018/19 Statement of Accounts.

    While the committee was due to approve the full document, it was only able to consider a draft version as the figures have yet to be externally audited following delays in the process.

    Mr Standley said: “I think we should treat this as a bit of a blip".

  4. Council declares climate change emergency

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Wealden District Council has become the latest local authority to declare a climate change emergency.

    At a full council meeting on Wednesday, Wealden councillors voted in favour of declaring a climate change emergency and committing the authority to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

    However, critics have said the commitment does not go far enough – with some arguing the council should set its sights on becoming carbon neutral by 2030 or even 2025.

    Roy Galley, the Conservative-led council’s cabinet member for waste and the environment, said: “Warming is clearly here in a big way and we have to get on with producing an action plan."

  5. Plans for 620 homes approved

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Outline proposals for two major housing developments near Hailsham have been approved by Wealden planners.

    On Thursday 18 July, Wealden District Council’s planning committee south granted outline planning permission for a 400-home scheme on the Cuckoo Fields site off of Ersham Road and Station Road.

    During the same meeting, the committee also granted outline planning permission for a 220-home development on land off Mill Road, to be combined with a convenience store, open space and landscaping.

    Both applications had been recommended for approval by council officers, who said they were considered acceptable within the emerging Wealden Local Plan.

    Despite this a number of concerns were raised around the infrastructure required by such large developments – particularly when combined with other housing developments already approved in the area.

    Concerns around infrastructure included fears for extra pressure on nearby roads, the potential impact on schools and medical services as well as fears around the capacity of water and sewerage works.

  6. East Sussex recycling changes due at end of June

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Recycling collections in East Sussex are set for changes from 28 June, with East Sussex residents no longer able to put Tetra Pak cartons in with their normal household collections.

    At the same time, Hastings, Rother and Wealden residents will no longer be required to separate out glass, and will be able to mix it in with the rest of their recycling waste instead.

    People living in Eastbourne and Lewes District will not be affected by the change to glass collections, but will be affected by the changes to Tetra Pak collections.

  7. Homes planned in Polegate

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Polegate development site

    An 78-home development is to be built in an East Sussex town.

    Plans for the works at Dittons Farm in Polegate were approved by Wealden District Council.

    The scheme was granted outline planning permission in June last year, with the approved application setting out details of its layout and design.

  8. House design delays planning decision

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Proposed four-bedroom house

    Wealden planners have deferred making a decision on a housing development near Ninfield due to concerns over its design and layout.

    On Wednesday, Wealden District Council’s planning committee south considered an application to build 13 houses at Potmans Lane in Lunsford’s Cross.

    The scheme has already been granted outline planning permission but details of its design have proven to be contentious, with a previous application being refused as planners judged it to have too many large four bedroom houses for the area.

    While planning officers had advised the committee the latest application had overcome these previous concerns, members felt more needed to be done to improve it.

    Conservative councillor, Roger Thomas, said: “The height of [three of the] four bedroom houses is out of place. I couldn’t support them on this site with those three there."

    Following further discussion the committee agreed to defer in order for planning officers to negotiate with developers over the design and scale of the houses.

  9. Conservatives hold Wealden

    The Conservatives have maintained a comfortable majority in Wealden.

    The Tories lost six seats - four to Liberal Democrats and two to Greens - but held control of the council, winning 34 out of a possible 45 seats.

  10. Councillors mull wine decision

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Beacon Down Vineyard

    Wealden councillors have retired to make a decision after hearing a vineyard’s bid to sell wine during tastings and tours.

    At a day-long hearing on Monday, Wealden District Council’s licensing sub-committee considered an application for the sale of alcohol at the Beacon Down Vineyard near Cross-in-Hand.

    During the hearing, the vineyard’s owners Paul and Alice Pippard they had previously secured temporary event notices to sell the vineyard’s wine on site.

    Mr Pippard said: “We are a new vineyard still finding its feet. We planted in 2015 and every aspect is run wholly by us.

    “Farm gate sales are important to make the business viable and the licence would also mean we could make retail sales for online purchases.

    The application, however, has proven highly controversial among local residents, with many voicing their objections to increased activity on the site during the meeting.

    Jermey Phillips QC, a barrister representing objectors Richard and Diana Randell, said: “It is critical to look at this it in its context and against the setting.

    “I stand to be corrected but you will never hear an application that is made in a more tranquil, rural and peaceful location than this. It is elysian in its character.

    Following the hearing the sub-committee retired to consider the evidence heard, with councillors warning they would be unlikely to come to a decision until the end of the week.

  11. No objections, but plan still voted down

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Wealden planners have refused an application to redevelop a disused rural builder’s yard near Buxted.

    On 4 April Wealden District Council’s planning committee refused proposals to build a single family dwelling on land next to Tanyard’s Farmhouse in Framfield Road, after demolishing a number of disused agricultural buildings on the site.

    Tanyard Farm

    While no objections were raised over the building’s design or its impact on the surrounding area, the committee opted to refuse the application as it would go against policies.

    The site’s owner says the building is dilapidated and contains asbestos, but the committee heard from officers that approving the scheme would "go directly against" a number of policies contained in its recently-submitted local plan – potentially opening it up to challenge, with the application rejected by four votes to three.

  12. Housing plans approved

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Proposals for a major housing development in Ninfield have been approved by Wealden planners.

    An application to build 55 homes at Ingrams Farm in Bexhill Road, on a site which had previously been granted outline planning permission, was given the go-ahead by Wealden District Council planners.

    Site plan for Ingrams Farm in Bexhill Road, Ninfield.
    Image caption: Site plan for Ingrams Farm in Bexhill Road, Ninfield.
  13. House plans come under consideration

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Proposals for a major housing development in Ninfield are to be considered by Wealden planners next week.

    On 28 March Wealden District Council's planning committee south is to consider an application to build 55 homes at Ingrams Farm in Bexhill Road.

    Plans for new homes in Ninfield
    Image caption: Site plan for Ingrams Farm in Bexhill Road, Ninfield

    Planners have previously granted outline planning permission to develop the site, with the committee set to decide on the details of the final design and building layout.

    Officers had initially raised some concerns about the proposed layout - including the amount of parking spaces to be provided - but are recommending the application be approved subject to minor amendments.

    The application is strongly opposed by Ninfield Parish Council, which has raised concerns including inadequate numbers of parking spaces; poor transport links; potential ecological impact; and limited sewerage infrastructure.

  14. Wealden council 'tackles litter-picking problem'

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Work is underway to improve litter picking in Wealden, council leaders have heard.

    At what was its final meeting before the May council elections, Wealden District Council’s cabinet heard from Councillor Roy Galley, the council’s portfolio holder for economic development and waste management, there should be "an improvement in the next two or three weeks".

    He said: “While I have got the opportunity, I just want to underline with everybody that we do have a major problem with litter picking, but work is now underway."

    He said he expected to see progress along the A22, A27, A259 and hopefully the A26.

  15. Conference centre plans put forward

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Planners are to consider proposals to build a new conference centre.

    Wealden District Council's planning committee north is to consider proposals to build a conference centre and replacement clubhouse at the Boars Head Golf Centre in Eridge Road near Crowborough.

    An existing clubhouse and driving range will both be demolished if planning permission is granted, developers say.

    In a business statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for the developer said: "This new building is at the centre of the redevelopment of the golf centre and its viability in years to come."

    The spokesman says the buildings would be a golf clubhouse and a specialist conferencing and event centre and it would also be available for wedding hire.

    The application also includes proposals for a new access road onto the A26.

    Wealden District Council's planning committee north are to consider the proposals at a meeting on Thursday 7 March.

    Artist impression of conference centre near Crowborough
  16. School dorm given planning permission

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Bede's School plans

    A school has been granted planning permission to build a new boarding house at its site in Upper Dicker.

    Wealden District Council's planning committee approved plans to build a two-storey dormitory building within the Bede's School site in Camberlot Road..

    The new building is expected to contain places for 60 boarders and is intended to replace an existing boarding house, which will be converted into office space once construction is completed.

    The committee heard no planning objections had been received from either neighbours or Arlington Parish Council about the scheme.

  17. Council agrees on tax hike and bin charges

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Council tax stock

    Wealden councillors have backed proposals to increase council tax by 2.7%

    Conservative-controlled Wealden District Council set its budget for 2019/20, including a £5 annual increase in its share of council tax.

    According to council documents, the increase means the average Band D council taxpayer will pay the district council £3.70 a week – an increase of 10p on last year.

    Introducing the budget proposals, council leader Bob Standley said: “I think we are all aware that local government financing is challenging.

    “But, as I have said in previous budget presentations, Wealden has weathered that storm."

    He said increased income from the council’s commercial projects, including the Horam crematorium and the Vicarage Field shopping centre will "replace some of the money government feels no longer able to give [us]".

    Members of the Independent Democrat Group abstained from the vote.

    Stephen Shing, the group’s leader, criticised the council for raising council tax and introducing charges to collect garden waste bins.