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Fairwarp's Local Development Framework Final Draft April 06
Contents Page no
1. Overview 2
2. Services and infrastructure 2
3. Leisure, Recreation and Culture 2
4. The Countryside and History 2
5. Business 3
6. Housing 3
7. Issues 4
8. Proposals 5
Appendix: Sustainability assessment 6
1.1. Fairwarp is a quiet country village. People who live there do so because it follows an older pattern of life in which many residents know each other. Within the centre of the village, walking from house to house is still easy; it is set apart from the speed and noise of through traffic.
1.2. Away from the centre of the village are four areas of settlement: the flats and cottages at Oldlands Hall; the houses on and below Brown's Brook; the houses on B2026; and the houses on Old Forge Lane, with a large settlement of Council owned housing.
1.3. The present housing stock is largely satisfactory, though with some old, unimproved dwellings dotted around (most notably by the ford at Old Forge Lane).
1.4. The population has a large component of retired and elderly people. Working people in the village almost entirely travel out of the village to work.
1.5. The village has a thriving pub, a church (many of its members are from out of the village); a village green; a village hall; a recreation ground. Improvements are planned to be made to the children's play area. All these elements of village life are well established and operating better than satisfactorily.
1.6. Broadly, no local employers provide work to people from out of the village ie there is no inward commuting. There are some small businesses, mostly run as self-employed/sole trader organisations the pub, a garden centre, a riding establishment, tea rooms, a painter and decorator, a specialist in child behaviour, some bed and breakfast accommodation.
2. Provision of services/Infrastructure
2.1. Residents have to travel out of the village for almost all significant services:
2.1.1. Health Buxted/Uckfield
2.1.2. Education Maresfield/Nutley/Buxted/Uckfield/Crowborough
2.1.3. Shopping Crowborough/Uckfield
2.1.4. Petrol Maresfield/Nutley
2.1.5. Post Office Maresfield/Nutley/Crowborough/Uckfield
2.1.6. Banking Crowborough/Uckfield
2.2. Utilities are provided less than satisfactorily so far as concerns sewerage, in that in parts of the village the load seems to exceed the capacity of outflow pipes and below the village to south-east and to west overloads and perhaps heavy rainfall lead to backing up of sewage and to smell. There is local concern about drainage of ground water from the village green, which may overload the system of ponds and the stream to the south.
2.3. Public transport is almost non-existent; however almost all residents have or have access to private transport. Rural/village life is not possible without access to local centres, and the absence of public transport and consequent reliance on private transport is a serious issue in Fairwarp as elsewhere.
3. Leisure, recreational and cultural activity
3.1. Adult residents have a limited range of locally provided leisure, culture and social activity provided by their own village groups, viz:
3.2. But there is no provision for young people. There has been some bad behaviour indicating that young people have nothing better to do with themselves.
3.3. Save for the young peoples' unrest and the lack of facilities available to them, there is no indication that residents find this unsatisfactory
4. The Countryside/The historic environment
4.1. The setting and appearance of the village are highly valued. It is a rural village, with easy access to Ashdown Forest. The Forest is widely used by residents for walking, and to some extent for riding. The protection of the AONB is highly valued.
4.2. If the present Development Boundary protection might fall away, we would want to look closely at the level of protection for the surroundings to our villages. We think that an on/off switch approach may be too harsh if it fails to recognise the desirability of some development outside the existing development boundary (say for affordable housing and for small-scale employment opportunities small workshops etc) if these conform with traditional scale and style of rural vernacular building.
4.3. The attraction of the countryside around Fairwarp creates tourist demands. So far these have not greatly affected the village. We do not expect this to change. Provision for tourist facilities must be limited to what is consistent with maintenance of the beauty and accessibility of the countryside. This requires careful planning and not ad hoc development. In an area of high employment, we see the preservation of the countryside as an amenity and heritage issue prevailing over job creation and economic regeneration. The issue of travel to work is often raised as a counter-point; it is a false counter-point in and around Fairwarp in the main, people do not travel to work because there is no local employment, but instead live in and around Fairwarp because they like it as it is, and choose not to live close by their work elsewhere.
4.4. Historically, local planning policy has included special protection for land within the Ancient Pale of Ashdown Forest. However, the line of the Pale is very uncertain in many places. We believe that policies should provide suitable protection for the AONB, for the Forest, for the countryside, and for the Pale itself (ie the Pale as an historic monument); but use of the Pale/Ancient Pale as a boundary for the purposes of planning should be abandoned, and a clear "line on the map" definition adopted in its place.
5. Business in the village
5.1. There are no substantial businesses in Fairwarp, nor would any be expected, except perhaps equestrian centres. Fairwarp is unsuitable for any business development, not least because The Street is unsuitable for any increased traffic flows.
6.1. For many young people, the prices of houses in Fairwarp remain too high. There is a backlog of unmet need for affordable housing and an ongoing need for its provision. The extent of this is uncertain, as we believe that the surveys carried out for WDC were not reliable, but its existence at a certain minimum level is clear. Accordingly, absent any change in market forces, provision is required to ensure that local people can stay in their community as they become independent.
6.2. Affordable Housing
6.2.1. We wish to see a better quality survey to find the level of need for affordable housing on a local needs basis (that is, for people who have existing or family or work connections with the village).
6.2.2. We support the proposed development at Old Forge Lane, though that will not be for people with any connection with Fairwarp. We support a policy to allow for the local need to be satisfied by a steady but gentle release of land we prefer to see a few houses built each year over several years than to have all anticipated need provided for in, say, a single two year development type scheme.
6.2.3. We support a policy allowing for self-build development of affordable housing, particularly as this shows commitment to the village by the people concerned; we believe there should be a priority for self-build development of single dwellings.
6.2.4. We support a more flexible policy for affordable housing on the exception site basis such that small developments could be created where opportunities arise, and where the development would not be excessive nor out of character with the immediate vicinity. Noting the extent of development at Whitehouse Farm, it is apparent that such development can occur without any clash with amenity. The policy requiring such developments to be adjacent to villages is unfairly restrictive for our villages, as no such land is available, and the need for it to be adjacent to the existing settlement is in large part based on accessibility to local public transport but we have no effective local public transport, so the policy has a false basis. People who live in or around Fairwarp to a very large extent have cars and need cars, and so the provision of housing a short distance from the village should not be out of the question. Our country lanes, as elsewhere, have occasional small settlements of what once were farmworker or gatekeeper cottages. Policy should allow a carefully controlled extension of that settlement pattern.
6.2.5. There is also the opportunity to re-allocate some housing currently designated as holiday lets as affordable housing.
6.3. Residents believe that there is no need for development of the village, and that it and surrounding areas are unsuitable for any but very small and occasional developments. Furthermore, Fairwarp's location in the Ashdown Forest and AONB makes it unsuitable for any substantial housing development.
7.1.1. Access to/from and parking at Forge Lane Cottages is inadequate, with real concern as to safety in terms of accessibility to the houses for fire and ambulance vehicles
7.1.2. Sewerage arrangements are old and in areas behind Putlands Farm and Hop Garden there appear to be run offs and overflows leading to smell
7.1.3. Public transport is inadequate. Fairwarp is (in)famous as the village which has an outbound bus service (to Tunbridge Wells) which has no return the service is circular and terminates at Uckfield.
7.1.4. Flooding has occurred at Old Forge Lane above The Sloop, though recent culvert work should have reduced/eliminated this.
7.1.5. The Street suffers from occasional visits by heavy lorries which have identified it as a suitable through route to/from A26 (one articulated lorry even having a go at reaching Crowborough via Brown's Brook!); lorries get stuck at Oldlands Corner.
7.1.6. Local country roads are used as main roads, with driving by the great majority of drivers which is only safe on the false assumption that all road users are also car drivers also driving at main road speeds this makes the roads unsafe to horse riders and frightening to walkers and cyclists. This has led to a decrease in use by horse riders, walkers and cyclists. Thus the bully boy tactic of the speeding motorist succeeds. The Highways Authority wrongly assesses the situation by reference to what is rather than what should be, thus denying the right of horse riders, walkers and cyclists to equal consideration to that given to the motorist.
7.1.7. There are no local issues as to adequacy of housing, education or health services, nor need for increased provision of services, nor as to the make-up of the population nor as to the ongoing viability of the village.
7.1.8. Save for the possible development at Forge Lane Cottages, Fairwarp's location in the Ashdown Forest and AONB makes it unsuitable for any substantial housing development. It is important to recognise that Fairwarp is a scattered community reliant on private cars for travel to work, and to obtain services, and that housing some distance from the village green/the pub etc would fit in with that settlement pattern. Opportunities may exist for some small developments of affordable housing to fit in with this scattered settlement pattern.
7.2. District wide
7.2.1. There is widespread concern as to house building elsewhere and the demand it will place on resources/infrastructure, with the fear of their dilution in the established communities. It is imperative that planning for greater demand should provide for the newly created infrastructure demands to be satisfied on first demand, not at some later date when the reduced service to established communities has become intolerable.
7.2.2. There is great financial difficulty for young local people in making their homes in the villages where they belong.
7.3. County wide
7.3.1. Fairwarp lies to the east of a B road; that road is used as an A road and its 40mph Ashdown Forest speed limit is very widely ignored, and very greatly exceeded. Two junctions are unsafe as a result; walking and riding on this road is a mixture of highly unpleasant and unreasonably risky.
8.1. Broadly, the situation is benign. Change is to be resisted.
8.2. But it is important that
8.2.1. Services are not reduced, either in absolute terms or by dilution as new external demands occur
8.2.2. Highways issues are not put into the "too difficult" drawer a recognition that B2026 is unsafe and unacceptable to reasonable local people exists; it is hoped that The Ashdown Forest Safer Roads scheme will lead to action, particularly a measure of Police enforcement.
8.2.3. The Street and Oldlands Hill need to be marked as No Entry for heavy lorries, save for local delivery.
8.2.4. Fairwarp remains a small, traditional country village.
8.3. It would benefit the village if some health services were available nearby, eg in Nutley or Maresfield.
8.4. Sewerage and ground water drainage need to be assessed, and remedial works carried out if necessary.
8.5. Provision of a community transport service would be of great benefit.
8.6. Provision of facilities, or more likely of transport, for young people may be called for. A study of their reasonable needs is necessary.
FAIRWARP / DUDDLESWELL
Note that there are no allotments, no public toilets, and no litter bins (mini waste collection other than domestic).
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