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I last reported on the progress of the development of our Neighbourhood Development Plan in my June newsletter. Work on the plan effectively came to a halt in the spring with Wealden District Council insisting that our Plan required detailed Environmental and Habitats Assessments which they would prepare for us. However, they do not appear to be proceeding with this work as they are busy with the new Wealden Local Plan which may be ready in the spring of next year.
We have sought the assistance of our County Councillor, our District Councillors and our MP as well as writing to the Department for Communities and Local Government to try and get our process moving again but with little if any tangible result.
In the meantime, planning applications have been submitted, and approved, for some 44 new homes in Maresfield (out of the 50 designated for Maresfield in Wealden's current Core Strategy). The one positive aspect that can be taken from this is that 34 of the total of 44 houses are on two of the three sites recommended by the NDP Steering Group.
We are still very much intending to complete the NDP and it will cover a number of other matters apart from specific site recommendations; we need to cover the possibility that, despite what we understand to be Wealden's current intention that there should be no additional new homes (above the 50) in Maresfield up until 2037, further new homes may in fact be allocated to Maresfield.
As you will realise this has been an extremely frustrating time for the NDP Steering Group; various options are being explored but will only be acted upon if their costs are covered by grant money so that parishioners are not burdened with any additional costs.
Nevertheless, an immense amount of good work has been done by our NDP Steering Group and Working Party members for which we are all grateful. The documentation on the NDP section of the Parish Council website is well worth reading.
Lastly, please do look at the Council's web site - www.maresfieldparish.org.uk - which records information about the Council, its members and numerous documents including minutes of Council and Committee meetings.
Martin Craddock - Chairman of Maresfield Parish Council