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Public consultation ends Thurs 14th May 10am – major agro-industrial site near Lewes

Just over a week ago we posted information about a major new development in the Ouse valley south of Lewes headed:  National Park – permission likely for heavy lorries to use the C7 road between Lewes and Newhaven . It is good to know that so many people wrote in about their concerns on heavy traffic, the impact on the landscape in the National Park and on the commercialisation/industrialisation of redundant farm buildings as well as other topics.

Local people are up against it, as the planning officers have recommended approval. Perhaps they don’t understand the area as they are based in Midhurst – some 45 miles away!

Public consultation on this proposal ends tomorrow Thurs at 10am . You can  send in a final 500 word comment  by emailing –  public.speaking@southdowns.gov.uk no later than 10am on 14 May 2020. More information on this closing stage is on the South downs National Park web site: click HERE

The existing development given permission in 2012 (2,184 sq metres ) with the older buildings in the background. If the new permission goes through another 4,533 sq metres will be added to the site.

 

 

National Park – permission likely for heavy lorries to use the C7 road between Lewes and Newhaven

Articulated lorry commencing it’s journey on the C7 near the Swan Pub in Lewes

This page has been updated on 11/05/20 at 13:00

There is a planning application currently being considered by the South Downs National Park which will could add 84 heavy lorry (HGV type) journeys along this road EVERY DAY.  If you are concerned please read on and write in as soon as possible. It is URGENT as we are fairly certain this matter will be decided this month., – in May 2020.

If this application goes through it will be a disaster for the C7!!

To view the application and comment online at a link direct to the case click HERE ,  to comment online or  email planning@southdowns.gov.uk directly, and the SDNPA promise to record the representation as normal, and distribute to their members and planning staff.  The SDNPA say ” This will ultimately help manage the flow of communications and give confidence that views will be viewable by SDNPA members in their consideration of this case and heard in a more timely manner”. Please put the case number at the top of your email

PLEASE SHARE this update!

Details: Case no SDNP/19/03768/FUL’  https://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/

Here is a summary of the situation:

Proposed expansion at Iford Estate near Lewes in the South Downs National Park: major new ‘warehouse type’ development generating up to 84 heavy lorry journeys along the C7 each day! 

CLICK to enlarge: Sketch map of route and agro-industrial site

Last year the National Park received an application for a major development in the lower Ouse valley south of Lewes at Iford.  Residents in the Ouse valley, over the last 10 years, have had to contend with potentially illegal planning development, numerous planning issues and planning appeals. Now the valley faces one of the largest planning applications that one could conceive within the landscape of the South Downs National Park. There is a planning application for a major new ‘warehouse type’ development, generating up to 84 heavy lorry journeys per day along the C7.  The site is at Iford.

This application is almost certainly to be considered in May 12020 so please would you write in ASAP. This is even more important as there will be NO Planning Committee meeting since the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) have delegated all decisions to the Director of Planning. This presents a problem as the recommendation by the planning officers is likely to be in favour of the development.

If this development goes ahead it will have a dramatic effect, not only on the landscape in the valley (as seen from the South Downs Way and locally in the area near Rodmell)  but it will close off forever the possibility of the C7 becoming a safe and pleasant road for pedestrians, walkers, horse riders and cyclists to journey along or to cross. We all know the C7 is a ‘rat run’ for vehicles going to and fro to Newhaven and the coastal urban areas but at least it has a 7.5 ton weight restriction on it. If this application goes ahead it will blow out of the water the benefit of the weight restriction since most of the 84 lorries predicted to access the new development will involve, according to the ESCC Highway description,  “the use of larger vehicles for transportation.”  In other words, HGVs!

Sadly, there have been only 5 objections against this application including one from the South Downs Society. The application was received in August 2019 so it would have appeared on the planning lists towards the end of August. Perhaps this is why it wasn’t picked up by local parishes and residents.

This application raises many issues. Here are some of them:

  1. The SDNPA Whole Estate Plan Team have written in favour of the application which, sadly, indicates that the development is in line for approval.
  2. Sadly, ESCC Highways have raised no objection to the development focusing their attention on the benefits for a small section of a village road which goes past the farm owner”s house. This short road would be relieved of traffic because the new road feeds directly onto the C7. ESCC say the proposals involve the use of larger vehicles* for transportation –  84 daily trips! They acknowledge there will be approximately 11,270 vehicle movements from this complex annually.  This makes a mockery of the 7.5 ton weight restriction on the whole of the C7.  *HGV lorries??!
  3. ESCC say that cyclists should be encouraged to use Egrets Ways and they recommended that the section of Egrets way that currently passes through land in the applicant’s control be upgraded and surfaced. Nice point, but this doesn’t take account of walkers and cyclists coming on/off or crossing the C7 in the villages of Northease, Rodmell, Southease, Iford (north), Swanborough, Kingston, Cranedown and at the very dangerous bend near the Swan pub in Lewes. This last location is particularly important as the chicane near the Swan pub is used by children & mothers on their route to and from school (from Cranedown and Kingston).  All of this is quite apart from the fact that at various places along the C7 and at the Swan pub,  walkers, hikers and cyclists cross to gain access to the South Downs Way.
  4. With or without the completion of the Egrets Way,  the ‘HGV type’ of traffic, whether it’s travelling north towards the Swan pub in Lewes or south to Newhaven will significantly add to the safety hazards along the road. There are 14 crossing points on the C7 which are used by bus users, walkers , residents , cyclists and occasionally by horse riders. See the list below. Surely the planning authority should heed the Government’s encouragement for people to get out walking and to cycle. If this application goes ahead it would seem that that this advice is being ignored. Roads are for everyone’s use and not just for heavy goods vehicles and other vehicular traffic.
  5. Despite the word ‘consolidate’ being in the application title, the SDNPA do not intend to require the removal of the any existing farm buildings – thus leaving open the possibility of change of use to industrial/commercial use. This trend, to rent buildings for such uses, has been ‘common practice’ in Iford & Swanborough with or without planning permission. Such development will not only change villages but also bring even more traffic onto the C7.
  6. Then there is the question – are such large buildings needed for a ‘farm’ of 1,416 hectares**?”. Especially when they are in addition to the many existing buildings in Swanborough & Iford. This new development will add 4,533 sq metres of industrial style warehouses to the 2,184 sq metres on new building given permission in 2012.  It is estimated the total area of the 2012 permission together and this application comes to about 40,000 sq metres of buildings and concrete hardstanding. That’s about five and a half football pitches in size!
  7. It seems inconceivable that a farm of this size would need an “agro-industrial centre” covering approximately 200 x 200 metres (40,000 square metres – nearly 10 acres!) as well as numerous existing buildings in Iford and Swanborough. It should be noted that not all the land is farmed as there are large areas of the Downs in the ownership of the farm which are Open Access Land and not farmed.   The farm owns land at Iford and Swanborough and some land south of the Old Lewes Racecourse.   It begs the questions:

(a)  Why would such a farm generate 84 vehicle movements per day? (ESCC figures).

(b)  What is being brought in and what is being taken out?

(c)  Where are these vehicles going?

** The total acreage of the Iford Farm Estate. It is 1,416 hectares (3500 acres). Information submitted by the farm as part of an appeal heard on 10th March 2020.  ref.APP/Y9507/C/18/3209964 concerning shooting on the Downs. The appeal was lost.

C7 Crossing places:

  1. Pedestrians and children crossings at the Swan pub in Lewes
  2. Pedestrians and children at the very narrow blind bend just before the Swan pub in Lewes
  3. Pedestrians and children crossing from Cranedown to the Stanley Turner cricket and rugby groundLewes and to the bus stop
  4. Walkers and hikers crossing at Spring Barn Farm
  5. Cyclists crossing at the Spring Barn Farm cycle crossing
  6. Residents crossing near the garden centre at the junction with Wellgreen Lane Kingston for the bus stop and garden centre
  7. Cyclists and walkers crossing to and fro from the holiday lodges
  8. Walkers crossing to the footpath at the bottom of Swanborough Drove to access the bus stop and public footpath
  9. Walkers and residents crossing at Northease for the bus stop and footpath
  10. Walkers crossing south of Northease to gain access to the public footpath
  11. Residents and walkers crossing in Rodmell at the Abergavenny Arms between the northern and southern parts of the village and to the bus stop
  12. Walkers, hikers and cyclists crossing the C7 at Southease (South Downs Way, national long distance route. Residents accessing the bus stop
  13. Walkers and cyclists crossing from the end of the Egrets Way at Deans Farm to gain access to the bridleway to the south
  14. Walkers crossing from the bridleway into Piddinghoe village and to access the bus stop

 

 

 

Government must not change VAT on solar panels from 5% to 20%, campaigners urge

One of the UK’s largest renewable energy suppliers has written to the Chancellor to warn that plans to change VAT from 5% to 20% for families buying solar panels and renewable technology could harm the country’s push for a net zero carbon economy by 2050.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive and founder of Good Energy – which has around 250,000 customers, called on Sajid Javid to scrap the plans, which come into effect on October 1.

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/government-must-not-change-vat-090046584.html

Grants for on street charging points for electric cars!

The Government has recently announced an additional £2.5m in funding for the public on-street electric car charging infrastructure, claiming that the cash will see an extra 1,000 charging points installed in residential areas.

The Independent newspaper has a useful article on this announcement but it and other media fail to cover the importance of getting local councils to apply for grants

Local authorities should take action now and apply for grants for such programmes. It’s long been the practice of government to announce a programme with limited funds and of course it sounds good. However, unless local councils apply for the money, EV facilities won’t come to our local area. £2.5 million won’t go very far. We suspect the big cities will be quick off the mark in applying for funds and that will leave rural towns at a disadvantage.

It’s essential that local county and district councillors are lobbied in order to get their  councils to apply for grants ASAP.   A letter by residents to the Leader of the Council might kick things off.  Contact details can be easily found on council web sites.

Here is a sample letter that you could send to your own local council:

Dear <………….>

Government funding for on-street electric-car charging is to be doubled according to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.  An extra £2.5m will available for local authorities to install charge points on residential roads. The scheme is aimed at providing access to charging infrastructure near the homes of people without off-street parking. Also it is understood that the Government are willing to consider applications for charge points situated in car parks owned by the Local Authority where they meet the objectives of the scheme i.e. that the car park is suitably located in or near a residential area and provides an option for local residents looking to charge their car both during the day and overnight.

Data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows 14,200 pure electric new cars were bought during the first seven months of the year, up 71% compared with the same period in 2018. These cars now hold a 1% share of the new car market.

It is understood that this funding is available to Local Authorities for eligible projects, on a first come, first-served basis. That being the case would you ask your officers to apply for funding as soon as possible before funds run out?

Kind Regards

Good luck!

An appeal to All Governments to take action on Climate Change!

By way of an introduction please take a look at this  short video which shows how methane is stored in the permafrost and in frozen lakes:

2010: University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Katey Walter Anthony takes us onto a frozen lake in Fairbanks, AK to demonstrate why methane gas is a key ingredient in global warming.

The continuing climate change protests , the Greta Thunberg appeals and Sir David Attenborough’s dire warnings in his TV programme Climate Change – The Facts may not be top news now but climate change is the biggest issue facing the future of life on Earth. I implore everyone to watch it. ……

Above: Climate Change: The Facts | FULL EPISODE – BBC   If you don’t have time to view the whole programme the TV guide Radio Times has a great summary including some dramatic video clips.  Or follow Twitter: #ClimateChangeTheFacts

For my part, the climate change threat is so important to us here on Earth I have tried to repeat  some of the key warning and advice from scientists and university researchers filmed in the BBC programme in this article …………

Continue reading An appeal to All Governments to take action on Climate Change!

Developers still promoting rejected site for 10,000 homes near Henfield

Mayfield Market Towns Ltd are still promoting their plans to  build  possibly 10,000 homes in the Sussex countryside near Henfield and a few miles away from the South Downs National Park. This proposal was rejected by the inspector when the Horsham District Council Local Plan was reviewed but the company are still pushing ahead.

The company are now inviting comments which is a positive move but is their plan sound? Why not let them know what you think?  If you want to contact them and let them know your opinion about this development email: feedback@mayfieldtowns.co.uk

Click Here to read the company’s letter of 24th July 2019

Continue reading Developers still promoting rejected site for 10,000 homes near Henfield

UK railways needs revolution not evolution, says Rail Review chair

This interim report promises to offer a route and branch re-organisation of UK railways but surprisingly it doesn’t mention the major effect which improved railways can have on tackling the climate change challenge. This is very surprising considering promises coming forward recently from the government to tackle climate change.

It’s disappointing to see that Mr Williams’ interim report assiduously avoids talking about the excessive rail ticket prices we have in the UK, and especially the automatic increases which are applied by the UK government each year to rail fares. The next increase is due in January 2020, and there seems to be no move to halt this unfair system which penalises rail passengers ensuring we have the highest rail fares in Europe!

However, it’s worth taking time to look at this forecast of what will be in the final report later on in the autumn as the changes predicted are potentially quite substantial.

Continue reading UK railways needs revolution not evolution, says Rail Review chair

On-line consultation – improving bus provision: A27 Falmer to Polgate

Consultation on improving bus facilities along the A27 between Falmer and Polegate

This survey seeks your views on the physical facilities and highway design aspect of bus provision.  Whether or not you can attend the event in Lewes on Friday 18th January  (See my blog of Jan 10th) please share your views in this survey:

CLICK HERE TO GIVE YOUR VIEWS

More information:

Campaign for Better Transport is working with Transport Focus and Highways England to capture your views on bus provision on England’s motorways and major A roads – the strategic road network.

Your feedback will help Highways England, as part of its integration and accessibility strategy, investigate priorities for improving bus provision – whether that is about signage, junctions, bus stops, crossings, traffic management or any other aspect of the strategic road network which could affect bus provision. Transport consultants Pell Frischmann are working with Highways England to assess the potential for improvements in the case study areas, and also to produce a tool kit and best practice guide for bus provision on major roads, based on the findings of these case studies. Click here for more info.