Proposed Submission Core Strategy

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Part 2 - Vision and Objectives

5. SPATIAL VISION

Introduction

5.1 Given the district’s characteristics, and the main challenges that it will face over the next 15 or so years, the main priority for the future is seen as providing for continual and sustainable improvement in the quality of life of existing and future residents, and for local communities as a whole.

5.2 Living more sustainable lifestyles will require a greater awareness of and a sharper response to global warming and climate change. It will involve careful management of the area’s precious but vulnerable natural and built environmental resources, including its landscape, biodiversity and water.

5.3 Increasing overall prosperity is a key local objective, which recognises the relatively low economic productivity of the area. This issue has been further heightened by the recent economic downturn.

5.4 There is a need to broaden employment opportunities, improve overall skill levels and increase earning potentials. This involves providing an environment more conducive to business growth, as well as continuing to mitigate the adverse effects of the area’s relative peripherality through improved connectivity – both physical and electronic.

(1) 5.5 Supporting and encouraging younger people to remain and work in the area is also seen as a key part of the overall approach to improving prosperity, as well as to sustaining balanced communities.

5.6 More widely, it will remain important to support people, especially children, the increasing number of older people and other vulnerable sections of communities, to both be part of and benefit from the strong community life of the district.

5.7 The council is eager to ensure that development and change in Rother district recognises and respects the distinctive and diverse characteristics of its towns, villages and countryside areas, and their local priorities.

5.8 Regeneration is a particular priority along the coast, while conservation of the natural beauty of the High Weald is a priority for over 80% of the district.

5.9 Specific attention is given to each of the towns – Bexhill, Battle and Rye – and to the more rural parishes, while still recognising the inter-relationships between them.

5.10 The Vision below presents a description of Rother in 2028, highlighting the changes from today. This is in line with the East Sussex Integrated Sustainable Community Strategy, as outlined in the ‘Policy Context’ section, and takes full account of feedback from earlier consultations.

(12) Vision for Rother in 2028 …

Rother District is recognised for its high quality of life, where there is a strong emphasis on community life. This has been achieved by continuing to support and further develop vibrant, safe, balanced and inclusive communities.

There is a strong commitment to a more sustainable, low carbon future and adapting to climate change. There is sensitive stewardship of environmental resources and conservation of the area’s outstanding environmental and cultural assets.

Sustainable economic growth has been secured, with much improved job opportunities, which encourage young people to stay in the area and provides greater prosperity for all.

Improved economic and social well-being has been facilitated by better access to jobs and services, in both urban and rural areas, and improved connectivity with the rest of the region, including through effective telecommunications networks.

Development and change has contributed significantly to meeting local needs and aspirations, having responded positively to the district’s circumstances, as well as to regional and sub-regional imperatives.

There has been a notable improvement in economic conditions in the coastal towns of Bexhill and Rye as a result of a strong focus on regeneration in the ‘Sussex Coast’ sub-region, notably through close working with neighbouring Hastings.

Bexhill has retained and strengthened its distinct identity and become one of the most attractive places to live on the south coast - attractive to families, the young and older people alike. It is the main focus of development in the district, and this continues to enable improvements in the supply of jobs and services.

Rye has improved its economic and social circumstances whilst fully respecting and sensitively managing its historic character, vulnerability to flooding and ecologically important setting. It maintains a strong tourism sector and Port activities.

The inland and essentially rural areas of Rother, falling mainly within the High Weald AONB, retain their essential local character.

Battle continues to be a thriving small market town and tourist centre which retains its character, with sensitive conservation of its historic core and setting.

The character and diversity of villages has also been retained. They are vibrant and inclusive, having evolved organically in a manner sensitive to their surroundings.

The countryside continues to be protected for its intrinsic value as well as being more accessible and economically active, while change is carefully managed to respect its character.

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