Villagers voice concern over Ninfield homes proposal

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Villagers in Ninfield aired their views over the possibility of dozens of new houses being built at a packed meeting.

Ninfield Action Group (NAG) hosted the event last Thursday (October 29) at the memorial hall, which saw almost 170 people attend.

Wealden District Council (WDC) is currently consulting with residents across its area about the authority’s local plan, which identifies potential pieces of land for development over the next 20 years.

The plan explores the possibility of 195 dwellings within and around Ninfield being built.

But villagers have voiced objections.

Samantha Guard, from NAG and vice-chairman of Ninfield Parish Council, said: “Ninfield’s allocation of 250 new houses, an additional 195 to the 55 already passed at Ingrams Farm, was received with shock and disbelief by those present and voices were raised in protest.

“The main objections are that Ninfield has been deemed a service centre but does not have the relevant infrastructure to support this claim. Also, the recognised pressure on the school and doctors surgery, already at capacity, was reiterated, along with a basic confusion as to who will be buying these 250 homes. There is not that large a local need.

“We asked residents to complete the questionnaire online and submit their thoughts and ideas for the best choices for Ninfield. It was made clear there is no point in just saying no. It is more realistic to engage and make a clear case for what Ninfield actually needs, and will work towards accepting.

“I am aiming to get a meeting at Westminster for the south east MPs and their district representatives to discuss all this mass building in the south and find out why it’s really necessary.”

Ninfield Parish Council is holding surgeries at the Methodist Hall, Church Lane, over the next three weeks, with the first being on Friday, November 20, from noon to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm, then on Friday, November 27, noon to 4pm and on Saturday, November 28, from 10.30am to 1pm.

Councillor Ann Newton, cabinet member with responsibility for planning and development, said: “The preferred options for testing set out in the Wealden local plan issues, options and recommendations document, including those at Ninfield, are based on careful research and study from our planning policy team. The number of new homes across Wealden reflects the need and responsibility to meet future housing needs and create sustainable communities. If we don’t set out a plan, we will get unplanned development which will not give all the benefits our communities need.

“We agree it is important that the new housing has the required infrastructure, including healthcare, school places and transport links. We will be collecting contributions from new development to help provide infrastructure and we are working with our infrastructure partners, including the county council.”

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