Why Wealden Moratorium on 1,000 Housing Units will Harm Ashdown Forest

This letter has been interpreted as as ‘moratorium’ on new housing in Wealden.

Its a bit more complicated than that.  Over 1,000 units planned in the draft Wealden local plan were deleted following new evidence on car pollution and teh partial success of Welden;s legal challenge to Lewe’s local plan that it did not cosnider the requirement to look at the cumulative effect of Lewes and Wealdens local plans which cumulative breached teh 5% screening threshold.

I have several problems with Wealdens approach – without getting too planorak about ECJ caselaw;

  • They appear to be stuck on Article 6(3) – a pre-wadenzee approach of no harm rather than invoking article 6(4) applying the IORPI test then post hoc mitigating with SANGS as they are then allowed to do.  Surely over 1,000 homes for an impact at ‘the margin of significance is a reasonable balance to take
  • Within a decade or two we may have switched to a mainly electrical vehicle fleet
  • The household formation wont go away – this appears to have played no part in their weighing and balencing of evidence.  People will simply squeeze into the existing housing stock and drive around the forest anyway.  The loss of so many houses will push house prices up and so people will sit on appreciating assets – elderly retired people are far more likely to drive to the Forest, and on a daily basis, then younger working people.  Have Wealden modeled the ‘policy off’approach, if not they have no evidential basis of harm and no basis for even involking article 6(1) or 6(3).

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