I report that Jeff Pyrah is now the executive in charge of the development of Rother District Council’s (RDC) new Local Plan.

I have written to Rother’s chief executive and others pointing out that most people in the Fairlight area, Pett Level and downstream, wish to see the de-allocation of housing on Wakeham’s Pond Field as well as this being in RDC’s and the environment’s best interest.

RDC have already consulted on their new Local Plan with Parish Councils (I am informed that Fairlight PC have advised that they are in favour of de-allocation)  but are pushing the Public Consultation out from initially Jan 2023 then July 2023 to now Jan 2024.

This Consultation will be after Jeff Pyrah has conducted a review called “Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) when he will assess a large number of sites across the district for their ‘suitability’ and ‘availability’ under the Government set methodology which will include all of the current allocations.

He has confirmed he will consider my submission in his HELAA assessment that will be part of the draft Local Plan that goes before the Rother Planning Committee (who have already rejected unanimously the last Pond Field housing application) and onwards to be considered by a National Planning Inspector.

I am advised by my friend, a very experienced Local Planning Consultant, that the HELAA process involves a “call for sites” – that is, bids from landowners and developers for allocations – and all such bids are screened against a range of planning criteria. Although it is unusual that HELAA assessments de-allocate pre-existing allocations, in a situation like Wakeham’s Pond Field, with a National Planning Inspector ruling against the site only last year, it is possible that Jeff Pyrah may conclude that it would be a waste of time and RDC’s money to ask another National Planning Inspector to reconsider the issues all over again unless there is strong evidence that the reasons for refusal (upgrades to the system are required for the foul water flows from the development to be accommodated-para 49) have now been overcome, which everybody, including Southern Water, knows have not been. 

So my advice to people is to be patient, leave this process to unfold rather than pestering Jeff Pyrah at this stage, while our elected councillors, Tim Grohne and Andrew Mier,  who are both on the Rother planning committee with Andrew being its chairman, exercise their influence on our behalf.

Thank you for your support and do email  or call me with any queries. Lorne.finegolf@gmail.com  07803434283. 

Wakeham’s Pond Field De-allocation report