When attending the HBC meeting last Wednesday where councillors discussed and voted on adopting the local plan to be operative until 2026, I was astonished to hear the comments from Conservative councillors who, as reported in last week’s Observer, voted against acceptance of the plan.
Where have these councillors been during the past two-and- a-half years ?
If they had been involved in any of the many sessions presided over by the inspector Mr Hollox and had joined campaigners committed to the very best attainable outcome, these councillors might be excused for expressing frustration if their efforts had not proved successful.
In fact no Conservative members turned up to ‘fight their corner’, when they might have achieved at least some of what they are now saying they want from this plan.
Those of us who did stay the course, waded through umpteen documents and many thousands of words, and in many instances gained the support of the inspector, may rightly feel aggrieved to hear such flippant comments from elected members who were clearly not prepared to do the necessary work to at least try for the outcome they wanted.
Were they not aware that there were so many opportunities to challenge what is now planned – yet no effort was made by them at the inspector’s hearings to reduce the effect of building on some sites by substituting viable alternatives.
They are however right to criticise the traffic problem on The Ridge and the effect of more building on what is now, and will be with the Link Road even more of a problem, but here again, what have they been doing to ease the situation ?
Any remedial work is the responsibility of East Sussex County Council and those who are trying to make an impression on the Highway Authority, have not included Tory councillors.
Indeed how welcome they (or even just one) would have been when East Sussex highways officers were ‘giving evidence’ to the inspector and insisting that very few traffic improvements are planned.
To finish on a higher note- how fortunate we were to benefit from a presiding inspector who was clearly committed to the highest standards in our borough.
It is now up to those who will be dispensing planning permissions to make sure that these standards are indeed achieved and sustained.
Pam Brown OBE
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