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Calls for investment in Crowborough roads before housing is built

By Sussex Courier  |  Posted: December 04, 2012

By Keith Fairbank keith.fairbank@courier.co.uk

  • Some of the 300 houses earmarked for Crowborough could be built at Jarvis Brook Waste Depot

  • Beverley Johnstone

  • Clockwise from top left Pine Grove, Jarvis Brook Depot, land off Walshes Road and the old community hall

  • Some of the 300 houses earmarked for Crowborough could be built on farmland south of Walshes Road (right)

  • Some of the 300 houses earmarked for Crowborough could be built at the old CCA Hall site in Park Road

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MORE money needs to be spent on improving Crowborough's roads before hundreds of new homes can be built.

That was the view of residents and town councillors alike after a 15-year planning blueprint was rubber-stamped on Wednesday. The core strategy commits Wealden District Council to building 9,440 new homes before 2027 – but makes no promise about upgrading infrastructure.

Paul Guntrip, who lives in Crowborough's Western Road near where up to 160 homes could go, said: "That's not something the core strategy has looked at. Building homes is one thing, but transport infrastructure needs addressing in this area."

The town council has accepted 300 more homes as a reasonable enough figure when compared with Uckfield, which is getting 1,000, but is concerned about exactly where they will go. That detail will be determined at a later date.

Wealden District Council suggests 140 split between Jarvis Brook Waste Depot in Forest Dene, which could be closed when private firm Kier takes over bin services next year, and the site of its redundant offices in Pine Grove.

That leaves another 160 to be deposited on fields south of Walshes Road. Alternatives such as the Town Hall in The Broadway or the old community hall in Park Road have been put forward but the Government's planning inspector has already ruled out a site next to Crowborough Leisure Centre in Eridge Road.

Beverley Johnstone, town councillor for Jarvis Brook, said: "Crowborough will benefit from more housing but the traffic issue has been swept under the carpet.

"At the moment it's very difficult to see how the road infrastructure could be improved. It doesn't seem feasible."

Mr Guntrip suggested a southern bypass linking the A26 near Herons Ghyll with the A267 near Argos Hill but accepted it was unrealistic. "I don't think they could afford it," he said.

Town councillor Andrew Steen, himself a planning consultant, said: "We shouldn't be upset with the level of housing we're getting – it could have been at least double that – but we shall be keeping a close eye on where the houses go."

He added a new tax on development, called the Community Infrastructure Levy, would only help if Wealden spent any cash raised locally.

Wealden District Council spokesman Jim van den Bos emphasised more consideration would be given to roads issues as its planning policy – "a living document" – progressed further.

The council's member for planning affairs Roy Galley said: "The core strategy allows for growth to take place in locations best suited to new schemes to provide housing and facilities for young people, families and our growing number of older people."

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  • wildgeeza  |  December 10 2012, 1:44PM

    How about a core strategy that creates localised businesses that can pay enough wage to enable people to work closer to home, rather than continue to grow Crowborough as a commuter town?

  • gmbourne  |  December 09 2012, 6:57AM

    Hmmm. I wonder if there are also plans to build hundreds of thousands of new homes in Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey for English people to live in?

  • Crowperson  |  December 07 2012, 8:53AM

    For every new house which is built and occupied in Crowborough, the Council gets another fat wodge of council tax and the water companies get another lot of water rates, without having to supply any more water to the town or update the drainage systems, so it's not surprising that councillors are so pro-development. Meanwhile, the people of Crowborough lose the green space which used to characterise their town and have to struggle with the progressive overcrowding this development has caused. If you look at how much the town has changed over the past 40 years or so: the population has multiplied, but there are no new facilities or infrastructure to serve this population. There are less schools than 40 years ago, there's no proper hospital and no direct public transport to the nearest one (thanks to the unethical decision to waive the agreement for Pembury to provide a bus service, in order that it could profit from more car parking), far less post offices around the town, no 24hr police presence, fire services talking about merging with neighbouring services the list goes on and on ...... The local roads, which were designed for 2-way traffic, have become clogged with parked cars from all the in-fill building, and are a nightmare to negotiate and the rise in antisocial behaviour (which the police deal with by not acknowledging) makes this not a very nice town to live in any more. Quite why Beverley Johnston thinks that yet more housing will benefit Crowborough is beyond the realms of logical thinking?

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  • MrSwing  |  December 04 2012, 7:24AM

    How will Crowborough benefit from even more housing.The town is being turned into one huge housing estate with a care home on every corner. The housing minister has admitted that all the extra housing in the country is to house all the immigrants from Bulgaria,Romania and ultimately Turkey that are waiting in the wings for their nice house in England.

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