Advocating for fair housing targets for Wealden

From my surgeries, meetings and casework, I know the feelings of local residents on current housing targets for Wealden.

While I recognise that we do need more appropriate and affordable homes for local people, I appreciate that the numbers for Wealden in particular are unfeasibly high.

I have had many meetings over the last seven years with the Department of Housing and I continue working with the Leader of Wealden District Council, local Parish Councils and my East Sussex parliamentary colleagues on making representations to Housing Ministers and bringing the level of frustration at the current housing targets for Wealden to the Government’s attention. 

Following years of previous meetings with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), I led a parliamentary debate in March 2022 to raise the issues surrounding housing delivery in Wealden and urged the Minister to review current targets.

I acknowledged the local need for more affordable housing but questioned the accuracy of the 2014 ONS population projection data on which the housing requirement modelling is based. I stressed the current numbers for Wealden are too high, ignore the constituency’s environmental constraints and are not accompanied by a meaningful delivery of infrastructure such as road and rail upgrades, and adequate provision of health and dental care, sewage and broadband. I also urged the Minister to ensure that all the homes that have already been granted consent count towards the forward targets and count towards the 5-year land supply.
The Minister acknowledged the tireless efforts of Council Leaders Bob Standley and Ann Newton, confirmed that the Department will continue supporting Wealden Council into the future and stated that the concerns regarding making housing targets advisory, not mandatory were being “heard loud and clear” by the Department.

Since this debate, I also facilitated several follow up meetings between Wealden District Council (WDC) leaders and Ministers, during which it was stressed to the Department that the current numbers for Wealden are too high, ignore the constituency’s environmental constraints and are not accompanied by a meaningful delivery of infrastructure.

My ability to influence individual planning applications is limited, given that planning is the responsibility of the local authority, Wealden District Council. As an MP I have no jurisdiction over planning applications or what local Councillors approve or dismiss on local planning.

However, I continue to make representations to the Department and supporting Wealden District Council Leader Ann Newton and local Parish and Town Councils on getting the overall housing targets for Wealden reduced. 


Nusrat Ghani MP welcomes government proposed reforms of planning system

Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden, has joined Wealden District Council in welcoming proposed government reforms to housing targets and the planning system, following her long, concentrated campaign with the Council to address the high number of homes Wealden was obliged to provide under government gui

Wealden welcomes reforms to housing targets

On Tuesday Michael Gove told MPs the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill will be changed to abolish mandatory housebuilding targets.

Wealden District Council and Nusrat Ghani MP have been lobbying Government for the last few years about the issue.