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Government housing targets will bring ''grotesque over development''

Photo of Cllr Emily O'Brien

A cabinet councillor at Lewes District Council has vowed to defend the "integrity of towns and villages" from "grotesque over development" after work started on a local plan. A local plan sets out where new development will go in a certain area, including the number of new homes to be built.

The housing target was previously 275 homes per year for the area of the district outside of the national park. Using the government's latest method for deciding this figure, it has now nearly trebled to a massive 782 homes per year for the district from May 2021.

Councillor Emily O'Brien, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: "Politicians of all parties are aghast at what the government is proposing and until they change their stance on these targets I will do everything I can to oppose them.

"Although there was a widely reported government climbdown on the "mutant algorithm" which had been proposed, this has been no help whatsoever in our area. The integrity of towns and villages in the district is under threat from grotesque over development and it has to be stopped."

Extensive consultation with local residents, town and parish councillors and other stakeholders is key to the preparation of the local plan. Most recently, landowners were invited to submit sites for consideration, in case they might be appropriate for future development.

Councillor O'Brien said: "The call for sites marks the very start of the process. These sites will undergo rigorous scrutiny, with many quickly discarded as not suitable to be included for further consideration. There will then be a full public consultation exercise that will start in the coming summer.

"One of the keys to convincing the government that the housing target is wrong, relies on us leaving no stone unturned in the local plan making process and providing cast iron evidence to justify a lower figure.

"I'm certain our evidence gathering and public consultation will demonstrate irrefutable support for that view."