December 6th, 2022.

Lewes District Green Party release:

Green Party Councillors have welcomed a climb down by the government over controversial housing targets but said that it has taken far too long, a key element has been left out, and that controversial decisions already made on greenfield sites must now be overturned.

The climbdown followed the cancellation of a key vote in Parliament forced by a rebellion of over 100 Conservative MPs who demanded an end to controversial housing targets. The targets have been blamed for widespread development on greenfield sites which have caused huge controversy in many places including Lewes, Wealden and many areas of Sussex.

Green Lewes District Councillor and Parliamentary candidate Emily O’Brien said:  “Make no mistake this is an astonishing climbdown, but the question most of us are asking is why on earth has it taken so long? And how many more green field developments will be forced through before new legislation is finally passed? In just the last month, government planning inspectors have forced three major green field developments on Ringmer, Wivelsfield and Plumpton Green, against local wishes and local planning policy. The inspectors’ reports make it quite clear in every case that this is purely because of housing targets. I am writing to our MP to ask for her assurance that these decisions will now be overturned.

“One obvious reason for the government's previous failure to act is that the same developers that benefit from this broken system provide much of the funding for the Conservative party, and the interests of those big developers outweigh the interest of local residents. It has literally taken over 100 MPs to rebel against their own party for this change to finally take place, when councillors and campaigners have been jumping up and down for years.”

Green Councillor and Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council Zoe Nicholson said: “Our MP has spent the last two years blaming councils for this situation and it’s good to see that the truth is finally out there. However whilst we welcome this partial climbdown it is worrying that the announcement stays silent on the five year review rule which was introduced in May 2018 and is actually the bigger problem for Lewes District. If there are substantial changes shown to be needed during the lifetime of a plan (usually not the fault of the authority - in our case, the introduction of the new South Downs National Park planning authority) then a whole new plan is required – and the existing plan is wiped out in the meantime.

“It is this loophole that allows big developers to concrete the countryside. It is vital that the five-year review system is changed so that any current local plan remains valid while a new one is produced - or this climbdown will count for nothing.”

The local Green Party has launched a simple one-click letter writing campaign to make it easy for residents to contact the government with their concerns over these issues.

The one-click letter can be accessed at
About Us
Archive News
© Redcat Marketing Limited.
Privacy Policy