The latest round of community engagement (March/April 2022) showed that 90% of the consultation responses received, supported the Peacehaven & Telscombe Neighbourhood Plan (PTNP) vision for the towns to be sustainable, with clean air and an environment providing a good quality of life and well-being for all inhabitants and visitors.
Responses also emphasised the need for more social infrastructure and services such as health services, school places and retail provision. Other points raised include:
Why the plan isn’t explicitly seeking a new GP surgery or school. The plan does require all major applications to contribute to the provision of local and social infrastructure including education, healthcare, childcare facilities and community halls.
Why the plan was no longer allocating sites – this was following the advice of LDC as this will be addressed in the next District wide Local Plan.
Concerns related to traffic and the A259. The plan requires any medium or large planning for development to agree with East Sussex County Council (ESCC) Highways (as part of the planning process) measures to lessen the impact of further traffic generation on the A259 through encouraging a shift from car to more sustainable transport methods particularly public transport improvements.
The PTNP is also seeking improvements for cycling, walking, mobility scooters, pushchairs and public transport (20 minute neighbourhood).
Some people also wanted ‘better’ shops. While the plan can’t specify the brand of shops, it has policies on retaining shops and not reducing the amount of floor space available. It also argues for retaining a ‘weekly shop’ sized supermarket.
Many people didn’t want any more housing. The Housing Needs Assessment commissioned by the two councils identified the need for more housing particularly affordable housing for residents on low or modest incomes and so the plan, while not allocating sites, does make provision for affordable housing to meet local needs.
Another common concern was that no more homes should be built without better infrastructure (roads, school, doctors etc) and that the infrastructure should be built first. The PTNP aims to address this through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). A portion of CIL is payable to the Town Councils for spending on local projects in the Neighbourhood Plan area. When the Neighbourhood Plan is ‘made’ (or adopted), the Town Councils will receive 25% of all CIL monies paid to Lewes District Council. Alongside CIL, the District Council will continue to negotiate Section 106 agreements with applicants.
Areas where the plan will be changing are in relation to the future management of estates or developed land as poor ongoing management or maintenance is recognised as a weakness in some recent developments. Planting native species of trees, grasses and wildflowers in new developments that are suitable for the cliff top / maritime location is now specified.
Greening up the two towns, creating outdoor community spaces such as allotments, community gardens and pocket parks are all encouraged. Also, rather than demolish existing buildings, developers will be encouraged to retrofit or refurbish existing buildings as this has a much reduced impact on the environment. And while the revised plan still doesn’t allocate sites for development it does identify opportunities and constraints for development across the two towns across eight character areas
The plan and accompanying reports have collated these responses as part of the evidence base for the draft Neighbourhood Plan policies and these will be presented to both Town Councils in the Autumn. The documents will then be submitted to Lewes District Council for further technical checks and assessments and hopefully this will lead to a local referendum for adoption of the document in 2023.
If adopted the Neighbourhood Plan will be the start of an on-going living document that will help Peacehaven and Telscombe manage area changes and encourage future economic growth. The plan will continue to reviewed and updated through to its replacement in 2030.
Cllr David Judd, Chair of Steering Group