Tag Archives: SDNPA

Lewes Neighbourhood Plan – submit your views by Mon 23rd July!

The Lewes Town Plan has been sent to the South Downs National Park for approval. Once approved the plan will become a legal planning document and planning applicants should take it into account. The planning authority WILL have to take it into account when deciding on planning applications. Check it out and make your comments by Monday 23 July 2018:

Lewes Town Council have prepared a Neighbourhood Development Plan for Lewes.  Further details of the neighbourhood plan preparation are available at the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan webpage.

Here is a link to the submitted document:

Lewes Neighbourhood Plan – June 2018

Comments on the Plan can be made by:

E-mailneighbourhood@southdowns.gov.uk

By Post: Neighbourhood Planning, South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9DH

Lewes Old Racecourse planning issues

Dear Residents,

On 14 June 2018 I attended the National Park Planning Committee meeting, over in Midhurst, and spoke on 5 planning applications concerning (Click here to see the agenda/reports) the land and buildings at the Old Racecourse, Lewes. I voiced my concern on all 5 applications. I asked the SDNPA Planning Committee to refuse them all.

This is an update from Lewes District Councillor Vic Ient for residents in Kingston Ward. It concerns planning matters in the parish of St Ann Without at the Old Racecourse. This blog may also be of interest to people who live in Lewes. 4 out of the 5 applications were refused but there is long way to go in resolving the un-authorised erection of fencing, see the report below from Lewes Eye. Footpath and bridleway rights of way issues weren’t discussed as ESCC are the responsible authority for Rights of Way.

Please also see (click to jump to these items):

Parish Boundaries

The main area of the racecourse falls within my ward, – the parish of St Ann Without. The reason I spoke on these applications is because the planning and enforcement situation have become very confused as has the footpath and bridleway issues. I opposed all 5 applications and if you click on the link below you will see me say why. You will hear me speak on the 1st item. To hear the others please just pull forward the timeline at the bottom of the screen to see each item once you have seen the first item:

Item 8: Application Nos: SDNP/18/00138/FUL
Proposal: Retention of crucifix (Approved)
Please click HERE and the recording should start at this item where I speak (at 00:43:27)
Item 9: SDNP/17/00340/HOUS
Proposal: Proposed erection of 5 loose box stables (Refused)
See my submission at: 01:10:25
Item  10: SDNP/17/05255/FUL
Proposal: Renewing existing and installing new fencing work with access gates
See my submission at: 01:36:30 (Refused)
Item 11: Application Nos: SDNP/17/02082/FUL
Proposal: (Retrospective) Retention of temporary erection of electric fencing using chestnut stakes (Refused)
See my submission at: 02:09:30
Item 12: Application Nos: SDNP/16/06136/FUL
Proposal: Construction of manege, fenced surround and shallow earth bank (Refused)
See my submission at: 02:26:00

Planning Committee June 2018 - Thu, 14th Jun 2018 - 10:00 am - South Downs National Park Authority Webcasts

Planning Committee June 2018 – Thu, 14th Jun 2018 – 10:00 am – South Downs National Park Authority Webcasts
southdowns.public-i.tv
Chris Smith of the Open Spaces Society has given an excellent report on the current situation following the SDNPA meeting on Thurs 14th June in his Lewes Eye blog. He has kindly allowed me to publish this summary:

LEWES RACECOURSE NEWS

(picture-  courtesy of Chris Smith  “permission for this track and fencing, together with other fencing erected since the picture was taken has been refused”)

By Chris Smith: The South Downs National Park planning committee has turned down a load of planning applications at Lewes Racecourse including plans for loads of fencing and a cinder road, much of it already in place.

The National Park also turned down plans for a manege (a surfaced training rectangle for horses)

The only thing that they agreed to was the retention of a crucifix that has been put up near the main track up to the racecourse.

Vic lent, the district council member for the area and Robert Cheesman of the Friends of Lewes spoke strongly against the applications being granted.  The Open Spaces Society, the South Downs Society and many others submitted written objections.

But do not get too excited.    Speakers for the applicants were able to allege that some or all of the application was existing fencing that had been authorised in the 1980s and 1990s and officers were unable to contradict them because they had not brought the relevant information with them.  Expect new applications for fencing that is alleged to be “existing” and legally erected. If you can remember the  area in the 1980s and 1990s and can say where the fences were, please get in touch. At contact@leweseye.co.uk

But there is no reason why the road shown in the picture should not now be taken up.

You can see which applications were discussed here and by copying and pasting the application numbers and pasting them into the search box here.  You can see the web cast of the meeting here

Chris Smith for the Lewes Eye

PARISH BOUNDARIES

In most planning applications and enforcement cases, connected with the Old Racecourse, we have seen recently the land ownership is spread across 3 parishes, Hamsey, Lewes (Lewes Town Council) and St Ann Without. I believe that the local authority should consult all 3 parishes. This has not been the case to my knowledge. Hopefully in future planning applications the National Park and Lewes District council will ensure they notify all 3 parishes of future planning applications.

Parish Boundaries

 

C7 Safety Campaign

Dear Residents,

Here is an update for on the C7 Safety campaign group. In July 2015 I reported that the Parishes of the Lower Ouse (POLO) had supported me in the setting up of a working group for all of the residents in the parishes in the lower Ouse Valley to investigate solutions to the problems of safety and traffic calming all along the C7 road. During 2015/2016 a number of workshop meetings were held with residents & parishes to document the issues. Comments and suggestions were documented in a series of drawings and list. I circulated and publish this information in January 2017. Click here to see the charts and report.

During the autumn of 2016 ESCC Highways met with POLO and positively responded to the research work we had been carrying out. Earlier this year I met with the ESCC Highways Department and discussed in what way they could assist the community in improving the traffic calming and safety measures along the road.  This report summarises my discussions with ESCC and proposes further steps towards pulling together a fully documented and costed plan to tackle the road issues. Here are my notes:

East Sussex County Council:

  • Are willing to help the community find a suitable highways design consultancy who could put together a safety and traffic calming strategy for the C7. ESCC have promised to send a list of consultants we may wish to work with.
  • Are going to carry out a survey this summer of the whole road detailing minor improvements and maintenance upgrades for things like signs & markings. This survey will also refer to possible other minor improvements for safety purposes. Once this survey is complete quotations will be obtained from their approved contractor and a proposal for implementation will be submitted (internally in the ESCC) so that work can go ahead.
  • Have now made detailed comments on our list of proposed safety and traffic calming measures. Here is a copy of that list, (click to download): C7 List of Comments 2016 POLO with ESCC info
  • Are willing to attend one of our workshop meetings to discuss their comments. We have agreed a date of the 2nd August at  6 PM. Please join us. please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue.  This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

However we can’t just rely on progressing things through one small department in the ESCC. As I have said before, the community needs to lead on this issue and produce a strategy and a plan for implementing safety and traffic calming measures. I have already proposed the production of a safety strategy document for the road which should be accompanied by a design/finance plan. As members of POLO may remember a proposal to engage a design consultant was discussed last year and the POLO Clerk put out a request to the parishes to support the cost of producing the design document bearing in mind that the district council (click here for further info) had agreed to fund 50% of the £2000 cost. I am not sure which parishes agreed to help with the cost or if the particular consultant proposed is still the preferred supplier.

Rationale behind a strategy & financial plan: Some improvements will come through the normal county council maintenance budget. Residents just need to make sure they report maintenance items but other measures will be more costly and will require funding from the county council, parishes or/and from a combination of organisations, possibly including the Local Enterprise Partnership (which deals with applications for funding locally on behalf of the government) or/and from special charities and other organisations. all of these organisations will require an application proposal and an estimate of costs. That is why we need a strategy plan and financial costings . Once we have these we can approach the organisations for funding . Hopefully we will be able to do this in by this autumn such that funds can be allocated in the next financial year ( 2018/19).

I will continue to work on the C7 safety issues and I am pleased to say that Joe Attwood (joe.attwood@btinternet.com) has volunteered to become the C7 Safety project coordinator. I’m looking forward to working with him to produce the safety plan for the road. We have set up a workshop meeting for 5 July at 6 PM. Please join us.  Please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue. This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

In parallel with the continuing work we shouldn’t forget that there’s always an opportunity for everyone to help improve things on the road. Here is some information:

Sources of Finance: Hopefully we will be able to find a volunteer who can research the different sources of funding. There may be just a short window of time available for applications to the EU as existing programmes run to the year 2020. However, apart from the county council, we will need some research into how one makes applications to the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Parish Councils: In parallel to this initiative the parishes (​Kingston, Iford, Rodmell, Southease  & Piddinghoe) and residents association (Kingston Road) continue with their own actions. I hope residents will discuss safety and traffic calming measures with their own parish council or association.

Report it: If you see a sign, pothole or verge which needs repairing or maintaining please use the automated reporting system. Click here for information and links

Accidents: Many people are keeping a log of accidents along the road and I hope you’ll share this at the workshop meeting

Speeding –  This is of concern to many people, the question is proving it! I hope we can get police, albeit with their scarce resources, to devote some time to the C7. In addition, there are a number of ways to kick off an initiative in your area. Here are some websites which may be of interest: Information on reducing speeding

Enforcing the weight & width restriction: Luckily past councillors for the ward got a weight restriction implemented for the C7.  A width restriction exists on the C324 through Kingston. Some residents feel these regulations are being broken. Ways of reporting and enforcement could be discussed by all the parishes.

Traffic Calming:  Volunteers are needed to research traffic calming measures. Here is a link of what I have found:   https://www.evernote.com/pub/vic182/trafficcalming

Other initiatives?

Road: I’m following up on the future of the A27 especially the section from the Ashcombe roundabout to Beddingham. Whether or not the A27 is turned into a motorway east of Lewes changes are needed to the three roundabouts at Ashcombe, Southerham & Beddingham to encourage the traffic to take the A26 to Seaford and Newhaven rather than the C7. I’m attending a seminar with Highways England on 10 July in London to follow this up.

Rail: I’ve already put my views forward concerning the reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield line. I am continuing to follow this up and support the initiative by Railfuture. Also I would like to see, linked parking/ticketing initiatives at stations in Sussex to persuade drivers to take the train.

Bus: I would like to see the introduction of Sunday services and an extension to their 123 service along the valley. To persuade drivers to take the bus instead of the train I would like to see an express coach service operating between Brighton, Lewes and Eastbourne along the A27 rather than just the busy coastal road

PS:  Swanborough

As some of you will know a planning application has been submitted and approved for holiday lodges next to the fishing lakes in Swanborough. Click here to see my report.

One of the good things that come out of this development is that the National Park have made a condition that a section 106 agreement must be signed before the development can start. We hope this will provide for some footpaths and safety measures on the C7. Here is the latest map showing the developers proposals for cycle/footways: (click to enlarge)

 

Kingston School expansion get the go-ahead!

As many may already know, the planning application for improvements and expansion of Iford & Kingston School got the go-ahead at the May meeting of the East Sussex County Council Planning Committee. Whilst I’m sure we all support better facilities for the children at the school, I was saddened by the County Council’s decision not to include any significant funds for highway and footpath improvements to try and alleviate the traffic problems caused by parents from outside the village having to drop off and collect their children. The County Council’s policy of expanding the school will add even more rush-hour traffic problems to Kingston. (click below to read more)

Continue reading Kingston School expansion get the go-ahead!

Finding Funds for a Community Project

With government cuts,  funding for local projects seems more unlikely but all is not lost. There is still a chance that your village or organisation could find help with funding.   Here are five possible ways to get funds that could help your community, rural business or parish council. Below I provide information and links on – LEADER grants (EU Fund for Rural Development),  grants from the Community Safety Partnership,  Sustainable Communities Fund from the South Downs National Park, Matched Funding, Funding from our LEP and some useful links:

EU RuralLEADER grants (EU Fund for Rural Development)

In January this year I  wrote about funding for rural communities available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. It goes under the name  ‘LEADER.’   Grants are available to promote the rural economy. The awards have just been made for Sussex, click here to see the article. These grants include:

  • Renovation and conversion of a disused farm building into bunkhouse style accommodation for cyclists and walkers using the South Downs Way;
  • Forestry equipment to help meet the increasing demand for woodchip for biomass boilers;
  • A new website and e-commerce system to improve the customer experience and increase online sales;
  • Expansion of a micro-brewery to enable increased production of their specialist craft beers.

In the recent period grants worth almost £153,000 have been awarded! If your village, community, business or organisation want to apply visit the website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/leadergrants

The Central Sussex and Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups (LAGs) have a total of £2.5 million to support projects in rural West Sussex and Lewes District.

ESSafeGrants from the Community Safety Partnership

Earlier in March this year I wrote about the Community Safety Partnership.  It is possible to apply for a grant from this scheme to help fund a local ‘safety’ project in your community or area. Projects could include road safety, buying a defibrillator or crime prevention. I believe funds are still available for this year so it you want to help your community click here  or contact me click here

SDNPSustainable Communities Fund

Grants are available from the South Downs National Park under this heading.  Any group or other ‘not for profit ‘ organisations which include social enterprise, community interest companies or voluntary organisations can apply for funding if they believe their project is bringing social, environmental, economic or cultural benefits to a community within the National Park. Grants are available up to £10,000. Click here for more information

Matched Funding

With the reduction of Government funding for highways and associated footpaths more responsibility falls on parish councils. ESCC operates a ‘matched funding’ scheme. This scheme helps parishes part pay for improvements with the balance coming from the County Council.

coasttocapital-logoFunding provided by Coast to Capital LEP

County Councils are not the main organisation for funding of road and transport infrastructure any more. The Government are now channelling new infrastructure investment through Local Enterprise Partnerships – the one for our area is Coast to Capital LEP. They say good transport networks are vitally important for a high performing economy. They also say that they want to help people to get to work, to the shops and to school and that they are committed to improving public transport, walking and cycling.  I believe local communities should contact our LEP to try and get them to fund schemes in our local area. For more information click here

 

Useful links for funding (click on the headings for links)

The Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. Their mission is to support fundraisers.

Lottery Funding 

Action in Rural Sussex – contact them for help and advice

Heritage Funding Directory

National Park Local Plan update

SDNP PlanYou may be wondering what has happened to the development of the South Downs National Park Local Plan. It is the most important planning document locally in Sussex within the park boundary.

The initial plan consultation started in Feb 2014, over 2 years ago. Last year there was a further public consultation. Since the end of Oct 2015 we haven’t had much news but now things are moving on.   This report provides an update on the development of the plan together with some other information. Here is a summary of my report:

The importance of the ‘Sanford principle’ in protecting national parks, key statutory duties of national parks and the importance of planning enforcement.

I hope this information will help those wishing to protect the national park in dealing with planning applications and potential planning infringements. If national parks are important to you please read on……..

Continue reading National Park Local Plan update

How easy is it to get around National Parks by bus?

123 BusOn the 23 Feb 2016 the Bus Minister Andrew Jones quietly announced there will be a Buses Bill in 2016.  At the moment it seems to be aimed at big cities and not rural counties & villages though the proposal talks about new partnerships and franchising for the whole of the UK. The Campaign for National Parks want to ensure that the Bill and any changes introduced as a result provide improved access to, from and around National Parks.

132 busIt would help strengthen their arguments if they could include some real examples of how buses, or the lack of them, have affected people’s journeys to and from National Parks, so please contact them directly. Email Ruth on ruthb@cnp.org.uk or ring on 020 7981 0890

 

 

Here is a copy of the Campaign for National Parks announcement:

How easy is it for you to get to, from and around National Parks by bus?

Continue reading How easy is it to get around National Parks by bus?