December 2nd, 2022.

Lewes District Green Part release:

Concerns around local planning issues have escalated following the cancellation last Monday of a key vote in Parliament on the Levelling Up Bill. The cancellation was forced by a rebellion of over 40 Conservative MPs who are demanding an end to the government’s controversial housing targets and ‘five year land supply’ penalties, blamed for widespread development on greenfield sites which is causing huge local controversy.

Green Councillor and Parliamentary candidate Emily O’Brien, (above left), said, “Last week 48 Conservative MPs, including local MPs such as Caroline Ansell in Eastbourne, rebelled against the government, demanding an end to housing targets and forcing the government to cancel a key vote. However the MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, was not on that list.

“It’s time for Maria Caulfield to stop blaming local councils who are following the rules in a broken system, and start working together with those councils - and to join the rebel Conservative MPs who are willing to stand up for their local communities against damaging housing targets.“

The algorithm which determines the housing target for each area (called the ‘standard methodology’) was introduced in 2018 and immediately doubled the housing requirement for Lewes District from 348 to 782 houses per year. In combination with a 5-year review rule introduced the same year, which Councillors say knocked out the protection of Lewes’s Local Plan, which was intended to run to 2036. They argue that this legislation has led to a free ride for developers.

Green Councillor and Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council Zoe Nicholson (above right), said, “In just the last month, government planning inspectors have forced major greenfield development on Ringmer and on Wivelsfield, against local wishes and local planning policy. The inspectors’ reports make it quite clear that this is purely because of the impossible housing target.

“I am sick of seeing our local council blamed for a broken system which we have objected to at every stage. We need to see an end to the 5-year review loophole and an end to housing targets and five year land supply penalties. Together these mean that big developers have a green light to bulldoze our well respected local plan and neighbourhood plans, and to concrete the countryside.”

The local Green Party says that in response to public concern they have launched a simple one-click writing campaign to make it easy for residents to contact government with their concerns over these issues. The one-click letter can be accessed at
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