Government policy is stimulating building development as an aid to economic growth. To help decision makers consider the pressure this puts on the Kent and Sussex High Weald and the surrounding area, we have produced maps of potential future development.
Planning policy changes
In response to the economic growth agenda and the pressure on housing, the government is supporting the development of new housing through changes to the planning system. One main way this is being achieved is to ask Councils to meet higher housing targets, and changing the way these targets are calculated. In the past Councils set housing targets across the region using a range of indicators and measures, agreed in the South East Plan. However the Government has now said through its National Planning Policy Framework that the 'objectively assessed need' for housing should be based on the household projections. These are the official estimates of how much the population may grow over the next 20-25 years.
In many areas this has raised the target for future housing considerably, especially when compared against the older figures under the South East Plan. Current Council plans are having to adjust to meet these new targets and this is substantially raising the total amount of housing Councils have to plan for. Much of this may impact on the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) given the number of Councils that have areas covered by the AONB designation.
What is happening now and what will happen next
It is likely that the next round of Council Plans will have to raise the total level of housing it allows for, to meet the new target and some of this will inevitably fall within or increase pressure for new development in the AONB. In some areas this is already happening where there is no local plan in place or the current supply of housing does not meet this new target. In these cases new housing is being allowed where it usually would not be.
A High Weald perspective
The set of maps and tables we have prepared give more detailed information about the current and expected numbers of new housing that may be coming forward. The information will help Councils consider the impacts of decisions across the whole of the High Weald AONB and facilitate joint working on issues affecting the area.