Rother housing developments discussed at meeting

Chris Lewcock talking to an attentive audience
Chris Lewcock talking to an attentive audience

Potential new housing developments across Rother came under discussion at a meeting organised by campaigners.

Bexhill Environmental Group (BEG) and Rother Environmental Group (REG) ran the event last Wednesday (April 27), which saw more than 80 people attend to air their views and concerns.

It was chaired by Barbara Echlin and Rachel Hills.

Rachel said: “Ideas discussed included Community Land Trusts, the pros and cons of increasing the density of homes in urban areas, provision of public transport alternatives to the car, the impact of new homes on the infrastructure, the importance of cycle tracks, footpaths and open green spaces and using our elected councillors to put forward our viewpoints at planning meetings.

“Some called for resilience to future climate change with provision of flood defences where needed, and a proportion of renewable energy generation on every site, such as solar panels on the roofs of social housing homes.”

At the event, speaker Chris Lewcock, an urban planner and former lecturer, said it was important to find ways of engaging with developers as early in the planning process as possible.

Rachel added: “However residents hoping for effective dialogue with large developers were advised realistically, sites were bought with the number of units firmly in their calculations and getting them to make significant changes at a later point would be challenging.

“Chris stressed the responsibility we have to undertake the research needed to develop a constructive response to development proposals. He noted depleted local authority planning offices may no longer have the resources or will to assess and seek appropriate amendments to all developments.

“Within Rother, in areas like Robertsbridge, residents have created detailed neighbourhood plans that developers are expected to follow and therefore have more say in developments than do the residents of Bexhill.”

BEG and REG will be placing a detailed report of the meeting on their respective websites, with copies being sent to Barratt, Bovis and David Wilson, as well as Rother District Council’s planning department and councillors.

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