Chailey Community 

The Parish at the Heart of Sussex

Chailey Parish Council – Response to Lewes District Council's Issues & Options Document

The principles underlying the responses of Chailey Parish Council (CPC) to the Issues and Options consultation are those that are laid out in the Chailey Neighbourhood Plan that was made in May 2021.

The Neighbourhood Plan recognises that some development in the village is inevitable and necessary but has a vision for Chailey in which it remains a small rural village and any development should recognise its rural nature and harmonise with the existing village.  Additionally, the rural nature of the area attracts visitors for leisure purposes. Tourism is a key element of the Sussex economy, the county attracting visitors, not only to the coastal towns, but also to heritage and natural sites in the Low Weald. For example, Chailey Commons include a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a key environment for maintaining biodiversity.  The East Sussex CC Landscape Character Assessment Nos. 3 (Upper Ouse valley) and 14 (Western Low Weald) describe this area: “This is a largely unspoilt and pleasant rural landscape with few intrusive features. The landscape is in generally good condition and well managed as a farmland with a strong historic structure. This is reflected in the southern part of the area which is in the South Downs National Park and is the setting for the downland scarp. The larger villages have some modern urban edges which intrude into the rural countryside.”

It is important that new development in the Low Weald does not damage this environment and make the area less appealing, thereby jeopardising the District’s tourist economy. The view from the National Park and across the Low Weald towards Ashdown is important (viz. the night-time view from Ditchling Beacon is rated as Orion – a distant view not subject to light pollution).

CPC recognises the pressures for housing development imposed on Lewes District Council (LDC), the impact of the adjacent South Downs National Park as well as the uncertainty as to the target number of residences that the District should accommodate.  The Parish Council believes that the split of the housing target between Lewes District Council and the South Downs National Park should be challenged by LDC with a view to redistributing some of LDC’s housing target to the South Downs National Park.  Additionally, LDC should produce an evidence-based proposal that argues for a reduction in the housing target for the District from the level that has currently been calculated.  Whatever the final housing target for the area, it is the view of CPC that it should be met by developments that are spread between the coastal towns and the villages throughout the district, but that these developments should be located where there is appropriate infrastructure to accommodate them.  In the case of Chailey, the Parish Council recognises that there are some opportunities for a limited number of relatively small developments in the village.  However, the limited nature of the facilities and amenities in the village means that any such development should be limited in size such as not to endanger any of these facilities and should supply small-scale additional amenities and infrastructure where necessary.

In the response here, the Parish Council has attempted to apply, where appropriate, the principles outlined above to the specific questions ask

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