When will this madness end?

From: David Worwood, Fair Meadow, Rye

How much longer will people have to put up with unfair and undemocratic government planning policies?

The much-valued neighbourhoods and environment of Rye, Battle and surrounding villages continue to be destroyed by opportunistic developers targeting green spaces, open fields and gardens in pursuit of profit. Rather than the affordable, smaller homes that local communities need, these developers favour large four- and five-bedroom properties — aiming to sell them to incomers for maximum profit.

The resulting population influx not only worsens our living environment and amenity, but places great strain on local public services such as doctors’ surgeries, schools and transport infrastructure.

These are already at breaking point in Rye.

A case in point is the current planning application for a 24-home housing estate at ‘Shellfield’ on the semi-rural outskirts of Playden.

Most of the planned houses are large 3-5 bedroom dwellings. The site is entirely inappropriate for a number of reasons: it comprises a field — a de facto strategic gap — which separates the Domesday village of Playden from Rye.

More than 200 objection letters have been sent to RDC regarding this project, but local people’s concerns are consistently ignored in the planning process.

Local democracy is dead in the water as far as planning is concerned.

It appears that RDC has now, without consultation, reduced the time for public comment on planning applications to 14 days, from the previous 21 days.

Rye is an ancient and historic town that depends on tourism. Does government imagine that tourists will continue to visit Rye when it is ringed by a thick necklace of urbanisation?

RDC recently even approved development for a large building inside the High Weald AONB, when a viable empty building that could have been used for the purpose exists less than 70 metres away. The application for a BP service station on Udimore Road has also provoked intense controversy.

Would European countries contemplate building housing estates around their historic medieval towns?

Local people want sensible development in sensible locations, not speculative, over-sized building in entirely inappropriate places.

When will this madness end?