Core Strategy Issues & Options

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11. HOW MUCH DEVELOPMENT TO PLAN FOR?

11.1 Ultimately, the Council will be obliged to plan for the scale of development, notably housing, set out in the South East Plan.

11.2 At present, the South East Plan seeks an average of 280 new dwellings each year in Rother District over the period 2006 - 2026, a total of 5,600 homes over the 20-year period, as well as associated development for jobs, services and infrastructure.

11.3 It further advocates that some 70% of these, 200 dwellings per year, be located in the coastal belt, primarily in and around Bexhill and possibly on the fringes of Hastings. The balance, of 80 dwellings per year, or 1,600 dwellings 2006-2026, would be accommodated inland.

11.4 This distribution reflects what are regarded as the greater opportunities for sustainable development in and around the larger towns, together with the constraints on significant development within the rural parts of the District, most notably because of their designation within the High Weald AONB.

11.5 Also, there is some flexibility in terms of the exact distribution between the coastal towns and the more rural inland parts of the District, and this will be a matter for more detailed assessment.

11.6 In order to gauge an impression of the emerging requirements, it is noted that:

  • On average, 231 dwellings have been built each year 1991-2006
  • The total requirement represents 13% of the current housing stock
  • The inland "share" of 80 dwellings/year is about 75% of the average building rate 1991 -2006

11.7 However, it must be stressed that these figures are only provisional.

Figure 4
Figure 4: Housing Completions in Rother1991 - 2006

11.8 In fact, the Government is likely to seek higher overall levels of housing growth across the region.

11.9 Therefore, Council's are currently being asked to consider strategy options that are sufficiently flexible in themselves to be robust in the event of higher levels of development.

11.10 The options discussed in the respective area sections, when taken together, are regarded as capable of accommodating an order of development sought by the draft South East Plan and, depending on favoured options, has a reasonable level of robustness.

11.11 However, as stated in section 2, the Council is concerned that higher levels of development would inevitably have greater implications for:

(a) the environment, including on the AONB,

(b) efforts to improve on the balance between homes and jobs (by virtue of weak economy), and

(c) transport and other infrastructure capacities.

11.12 Indeed, even the current South East Plan proposals need to be matched by significant infrastructure investment to be sustainable.

(21) Question 10 - What are the respective merits of higher or lower levels of growth, especially in the sort to medium term?

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