LETTER: ‘No’ would be the death knell for the Newick we love

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With the assistance of local residents, Newick Parish Council has spent the last 2½ years producing the Newick Neighbourhood Plan (the Plan).

By means of consultation days, meetings and surveys, the Plan’s Steering Group has ensured that the Plan reflects the views of the majority of Newick’s residents. Yet still the Plan has its detractors calling for a NO vote at next week’s referendum.In the case of landowners whose sites have not been selected for development under the Plan, this is understandable; without the Plan they would stand a good chance of getting planning permission for their sites. In the case of other residents it beggars belief. Voting NO next week would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Even residents who object to the Plan’s proposals of new housing near them should nevertheless vote

YES, because those homes will get built with or without an adopted Neighbourhood Plan and many more will be built if the Plan is not adopted.

It is never possible to please all of the people all of the time. Inevitably, any Neighbourhood Plan will have some aspects that some individuals are opposed to. The fact remains, however, that adoption of Newick’s Neighbourhood Plan is the best means available for protecting the village and its rural surroundings from excessive development. Without an adopted Plan, Newick would be wide open to speculative planning applications. Under current Government policy, Lewes District Council (LDC) is unable to oppose such applications unless it has a five year housing land supply across the district: it has less than two years supply at present. LDC expects to have a five year supply after its Core Strategy is adopted, perhaps by the end of this year, but would probably then lose it again well before the 2030 expiry of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan, as the Core Strategy’s sites get built on. The inspector of the proposed Core Strategy has recently stated that LDC’s target of 5,790 new homes by 2030 must be increased to 6,900: this will make it more difficult for LDC to retain a five year housing land supply.

Contrary to what some have suggested, voting NO next week would not be just a vote against central and local government policy. It would probably be the death knell of the Newick we know and love. The Parish Council therefore urges all Newick voters to turn out on Thursday 26th February and vote YES.

S E Berry

On behalf of Newick Parish Council