The following letter has been sent to the head of planning at Wealden, the planning committee north for Wealden and Nus Ghani MP.
Thomas Alfred Homes plan for “Isfield New Town” was raised by residents and the following letter from Little Horsted Parish Meetings chairman outlines their concerns and rejection of such a plan. We understand this has not gone in for formal planning however residents are keen to make their views known on such a proposal at the earliest opportunity.
Proposed Isfield New Town———————————————————
Dear Sir or Madam .
With reference to the proposed development of 5000 plus homes centred on the village of Isfield, currently the subject of discussions between Thomas Alfred Homes and Wealden District Council, we would like to submit the following observations. Despite the lack of a District Plan leaving Developer’s pretty much an open goal for lawful development there are very pertinent reasons why this “outline”plan should not be taken any further, amongst which are:
(1) A considerable proportion of the proposed development lies on river flood plain; this is not only currently prone to flooding – but with forecast global warming – the area and risk is certainly going to increase substantially. With the flood barrier at Barcombe already having to be closed numerous times a year (to protect Lewes) – how can the increased spill off from the Ridgewood development plus the associated developments going into the Uck, just before it merges with the Ouse, in addition to the proposed development at Isfield do anyway other than to put Uckfield including the neighbouring housing and roads into considerable jeopardy? The A272 is already prone to flooding. To sanction this development, being in full knowledge of the potential consequences of such an action would almost certainly open the doors to legal redress from Wealden when the potential becomes actual.
(2) Isfield New Town would straddle two Parishes merging them into one common build; each of these Parishes have their own identity, mentioned in historical documentation, which would be lost with the arrival of this proposed urban sprawl.
(3) The principal road system feeding this proposed build are the A22 ,A26, and A272. These then filter down to three very narrow lanes which all Isfield traffic has to use: the“A” roads are already overcrowded and putting an additional 10000 plus cars onto this system at rush hours would result in massive traffic blockages.
(4) A considerable proportion of the land offered for this proposal hasn’t been or will be offered for sale for such a project. We believe that similar assumptions have already contributed to earlier Planning difficulties and to go ahead, with fore knowledge of this situation, would be reckless in the extreme!
(5) Much has been made about this proposal leading to the reopening of the Lewes – Uckfield railway; indeed without it such a development would not be viable. However the costs of such a project are truly massive (the bridging or tunnel necessary at Isfield to replace the level crossing alone is substantial) this involving land and property purchase as well as the replacement of the second track (which has just been ripped up!)between Uckfield and West Croydon. There is no guarantee of the reopening of this line and we are very doubtful if one would ever be offered.
(5) Above all this is counter to the entreaties of the of the Parishes concerning the, as yet unanswered, replies relating to Wealden’s revised District Plan which advocate smaller “satellite “ pocket developments as opposed to the massive greenfield builds that Wealden seems to have embarked upon . This project – if allowed would lead to a more or less contiguous development between Uckfield and Lewes – the agreed proposed infrastructure for such projects, to date, have been woefully inadequate and the urbanisation of what is a very beautiful part of this Country would be corporate vandalism on a truly heroic scale.
We trust that you will think very deeply before wasting time and money in continuing with this obviously flawed proposal.
Simon Autie Chairman Little Horsted Parish Meeting.