Ask the Leader

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The leader of Wealden District Council is Councillor James Partridge. He will be pleased to answer any question you may have about Wealden District Council's policies, or other matters involving the council, which you think are of interest to people living, working or visiting Wealden.

Councillor Partridge is the Liberal Democrat leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and represents Crowborough North.

The response to your question will posted here so others can read it too should they wish. If we think the question is inappropriate for publication we will contact you to say why.

Specific inquiries about particular services can be reported online.


*Please note that in order to submit a question, participants must have an account on Let's Talk Wealden. If you do not already have an account, but would like to register one, please click here.

The leader of Wealden District Council is Councillor James Partridge. He will be pleased to answer any question you may have about Wealden District Council's policies, or other matters involving the council, which you think are of interest to people living, working or visiting Wealden.

Councillor Partridge is the Liberal Democrat leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and represents Crowborough North.

The response to your question will posted here so others can read it too should they wish. If we think the question is inappropriate for publication we will contact you to say why.

Specific inquiries about particular services can be reported online.


*Please note that in order to submit a question, participants must have an account on Let's Talk Wealden. If you do not already have an account, but would like to register one, please click here.

Ask the Leader

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    Why on earth, in a time of high cost of living for all, does Wealden District Council consider it a good idea to contribute to the energy bills of members of staff who insist on working from home? It is their choice to work in this this way when they have a more than adequate office where they can carry out their employment. Indeed the ethos of ‘going to the office’ has kept this country, including Wealden, going for many many years. I know you will say that this subsidy is being funded from your staffing budget but, in local government, whichever budget is utilised is funded by the taxpayer. Those hard pressed people who have no say in how their money is spent. Surely, those staff claiming heating expenses could use the money they are saving by not spending on travel expenses? They seem to be in a win win situation. Why don’t WDC councillors have the gumption to insist that staff get back to the office, improving service to the public that pays their salaries and helping newer members of staff with their job roles. I imagine that getting back to the office would also improve mental health of many with the social contact and removing a sense of isolation at home. As a Wealden tax payer I would appreciate your comments.

    Lynn Brand asked 3 months ago

    Good afternoon Lynn, 

    Thank you for your question and I apologise that I haven't come back to you sooner. 

    The council is a “people business”.  The employment market in the South East is very competitive.  This is great for everyone who wants to work here, but means that, like all employers based here, the council has to offer attractive pay packages to recruit and retain staff and which are in line with the market. All employers offer their staff a variety of benefits as part of their remuneration package and, to an extent, allow their staff to “pick and mix” these benefits.  Very many employers allow their staff to work from home.

     At Wealden, we have chosen to devote a small portion of our total staff cost budget to pay a benefit which is a contribution towards the costs incurred by employees when they spend some of their time working from home. Although we support staff with the costs of working at home, our pay and benefit arrangements remain completely within national, regional and local parameters for public sector organisations.

    We owe it to our residents to ensure that our combined package enables us to recruit and retain employees who have the highly sought after skills that we need to provide our services. Our resident satisfaction data, which is above sector average, suggests that we are making the right decisions on matters affecting service delivery in the post-Covid world, and that includes decisions which affect staff recruitment and retention.

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    Dear Cllr. Partridge, I would like to ask what contact has been made by the Housing Team ( homelessness) with the one , or sometimes two, persons now very obviously living rough outside of Waitrose in Hailsham? The Councils website recently flagged the enhanced effort and contact available to help in such situations. In the current season this living rough is neither going to help the mental and physical wellbeing of these individuals nor indeed the image of Hailsham as one of the District’s principal settlements. I also cannot believe that the current visual impact of the growing array of sleeping bags and possessions sits well with adjacent retailers. In essence what real efforts are being made by the District Council to find safer, and more appropriate accommodation for the individuals concerned? Sincerely, D. Phillips

    David Phillips asked 2 months ago

    Good afternoon David and thank you for your question.  I cannot say very much, for confidentiality reasons. We know about these two people and are working with others who can help in order to find a solution. We ask that members of the public report all rough sleepers to Street Link so that we can get them help.  StreetLink - Connecting people sleeping rough to local services (thestreetlink.org.uk)

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    Why is it the roads in this area especially are so so terrible, there are actually no good roads in hailsham they are all an absolute disgrace the potholes are third world status.

    Simon asked 2 months ago

    Dear Simon, 

    Thank you for your question, however potholes are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council, not the district council.  I would suggest that you either contact one of Hailsham's county councillors, Councillor Steve Murphy (Hailsham Market) or Councillor Gerard Fox (Hailsham New Town).  Their contact details can be found via this link Councillors | East Sussex County Council

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    I am a pensioner in my late 70's and a resident of Wealden. I have seasonal work but during the winter months I am mostly at home. During weekdays my heating does not come on until 5pm but my energy bill is still over £160 per month. In addition to this I pay an annual Council Tax charge of £2156, so I was shocked to learn that Wealden District Council has paid over £126,000 to staff working from home over the past year towards 'heat and light' costs (Freedom of Information figures). Why should tax payers contribute towards the energy bills of those council employees, many of whom will be saving on commuting costs? Why are they not in the office? Is this the result of the relocation of staff from Crowborough to Hailsham which was made to 'save money'? Why should residents be paying towards council staff utility bills when this money should be going towards maintaining and improving community services? Please would you give me a logical, informed answer and hopefully assurance that these payments will not continue, especially with the prospect of increased Community Tax rates next year.

    Diane Guymer asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for this question.

     The £2156 which you pay in Council Tax is made up of separate levies or taxes set by [5] different authorities. Only 9% (£194) of it comes to us.  

    The council is a “people business”.  The employment market in the South East is very competitive.  This is great for everyone who wants to work here, but means that, like all employers based here, the council has to offer attractive pay packages to recruit and retain staff and which are in line with the market. All employers offer their staff a variety of benefits as part of their remuneration package and, to an extent, allow their staff to “pick and mix” these benefits.  Very many employers allow their staff to work from home.

     At Wealden, we have chosen to devote a small portion of our total staff cost budget to pay a benefit which is a contribution towards the costs incurred  by employees when they spend some of their time working from home.

     Although we support staff with the costs of working at home, our pay and benefit arrangements remain completely within national, regional and local parameters for public sector organisations.

    We owe it to our residents to ensure that our combined package enables us to recruit and retain employees who have the highly sought after skills that we need to provide our services.. Our resident satisfaction data, which is above sector average, suggests that we are making the right decisions on matters affecting service delivery in the post-Covid world, and that includes decisions which affect staff recruitment and retention.

     This policy is not related to the closure of the Council’s Crowborough offices.

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    When will the Wealden Local planning document be available. The last information I can see on your website is March of this year. At that time you said that by autumn there should be mire definitive information, we are now approaching November and nothing is forthcoming. As with CPE, Wealden again falls short. The consequence is gridlocked roads, dangerous parking, danger to the public, developers appealing planning refusals, constant building work in certain part of the authority. The interpretation is that it is in Wealdens interest to delay this planning document for as long as possible to allow mass development. How has this plan taken so long to come to fruition, its been years!

    Terence Richings asked 4 months ago

    Dear Mr Richings, 

    Thank you for your question. 

    Work on the forthcoming Local Plan consultation was paused in 2022 due to confirmation that the government was proposing to bring forward a series of changes to the national planning system, both through legislation and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). While there has been some progress with the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act gaining Royal Assent, many of its provisions for the planning system rely on yet to be defined secondary legislation or changes to the NPPF, for which no firm date for publication has been set. 

    A Draft Local Plan will be considered by members of Wealden District Council early next year. A special meeting of Full Council will be held on Thursday 8 February 2024 when councillors will consider the plan with the formal Regulation 18 public consultation taking place in the weeks after the meeting. We will officially update the timetable for the Local Plan in due course now that the date for the meeting in the new year has been set.

    Wealden District Council reviewed the options for On Street Car Parking Enforcement in 2017/18. A full and detailed report was written and presented to Wealden District Council Cabinet for consideration and direction. Below is the link to the decision made. This is not currently under review. https://council.wealden.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?AIId=45130

    The police continue to insist they will enforce parking that they consider to be dangerous, e.g. where they block junctions and visibility for other road users and also where cars block pavements forcing pedestrians into the road.

     

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    Is there any RAAC concrete in my council house?

    PHill asked 5 months ago

    I can confirm we have no RAC concrete in our housing stock. 

    Homes do make noises as they heat up and cool down, this is normal. However, if there are any significant visible cracks, (other than minor decorative cracks on internal plasterwork) please do not hesitate to contact the repairs desk on 01323 443375 or repairs@wealden.gov.uk so further investigations can be undertaken. 

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    The roads are in a poor state of repair in our local area, even on the rare occasion roads are resurfaced they are completed poorly leaving no improvement and in some cases making it worse. There have been large potholes on the road near Cumnor school in Danehill for 6 months that have not been properly repaired, just as a small example. When we will see road repairs take place and who is checking the quality of resurfacing as it appears to be no one at the moment

    Sarah asked 6 months ago

    Dear Sarah, thank you for your question about the state of the roads in DanehillEast Sussex County council has responsibility for the county’s roads and has its own contractor to deal with issues such as potholes. However, in June, Wealden District Council passed a motion calling on East Sussex County Council to address problems associated with potholes across the district. This motion included asking the county council to confirm that it has undertaken an immediate and comprehensive condition survey of the district’s road network, confirm the extent of work to be carried out and set a timetable to rectify the present state of disrepair; invite relevant officers from East Sussex County Council to attend an early meeting of Wealden council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee to explain the position or ongoing maintenance of the roads; and finally to urge the county council to make greater representation to the government for increased funding for road repairs.

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    What additional infrastructure is being planned for Crowborough given the horrendous increase in housing developments by Wealden District Council?

    PEN asked 6 months ago

    Within the last five years there have been 11 major applications approved for a total of 796 dwellings within the Crowborough wards. Of these 8 permissions have commenced.   

    A major application is defined by the Development Management Procedure (England) Order 2015 and regarding residential development means: 

    • Residential development of between 10 or more dwellings 

    • Residential development on a site area of 0.5 ha or more and the number of dwellings is unknown. 

    • Development of floorspace of 1,000 sq m or more. 

    • Development on sites over 1 ha or more. 

    • Change of use over 1,000 sq or more. 

    Each of these 11 applications is subject to a S106 Legal Agreement, which are the main method by which a development provides additional infrastructure. I have attached a table for your information of the works that are planned to be undertaken as part of these approvals. Full details of the S106 agreements can be found via the Wealden District Council Planning website, by using the outline planning permission reference number rather than the reserved matters application number listed on the table. 

    The details within the table highlight a summary of what is agreed for each development, however the planning permission itself also provides a series of conditions on how a permission must be enacted.







    Application No. 






    Location 






    No of Dwellings 






    Infrastructure to be provided 






    WD/2020/2164/MAO 





    The Millbrook Garden Centre, Tubwell Lane, Crowborough, TN6 3RJ 





    27 





    Highways Works 

    Bus Service Financial Contribution 






    WD/2020/0734/MAO 

      

    WD/2022/0775/MRM 





    Orchid Riding Centre, Walshes Road, Crowborough, TN6 3RE 





    150 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    5% Self Build Housing 

    Highways Works 

    Bus Service Financial Contribution 

    Youth and Adult Facilities  

    Car Club 

    Green Infrastructure 

      






    WD/2020/0596/MAO 

      

    WD/2023/059/MRM 





    Land at Brook View, Land north of Walshes Road, Crowborough, East Sussex 





    130 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    5% Self Build Housing 

    Highways Works 

    Bus Service Financial Contribution 

    Youth and Adult Facilities  

    Car Club 

    Green Infrastructure 

      






    WD/2020/0893/MAJ 

      





    Land East Of Hadlow Down Road, Crowborough 





    26 





    35% Affordable Housing 

      






    WD/2019/0641/MAO 

      





    Land Adjacent To Walsh Manor Farm, Crowborough, TN6 3RB 

      





    71 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    5% Self Build Housing 

    Highways Works 

    Onsite Equipped Play space 

    Youth and Adult Facilities  

    Green Infrastructure 

      






    WD/2016/1677/MAO 

      

    WD/2019/1169/MRM 





    Rockington Nursery, Blackness Road, Crowborough, TN6 2NB 





    34 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    Play space contribution for recreation facilities in Crowborough. 

      






    WD/2017/2197/MAO 

      

    WD/2021/0897/MRM 





    Land North Of Eridge Road, Crowborough 





    119 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    5% Self Build Housing 

    Highways Works 

    Youth and Adult Facilities  

    Green Infrastructure 

      






    WD/2018/2122/MAO 

      

    WD/2022/0395/MRM 





    Land At Steel Cross, Crowborough TN6 XB 





    103 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    Highways Works 

    Bus Service Financial Contribution 

    Youth and Adult Facilities  

    Green Infrastructure 

    Footway Improvements 

      






    WD/2017/0615/MAO 

      

    WD/2021/2739/MRM 





    Land North Of Walshes Road, Crowborough,  

    TN6 3RE 





    100 





    35% Affordable Housing 

    Highways Works 

    Children, Youth and Adult Facilities  

    Green Infrastructure 

      






    WD/2016/2049/MAO 

      

    WD/2017/1122/MRM 





    Land At Tollwood Road, Crowborough 





    18 





    8 Units of Affordable Housing 


    The District Council as a provider of infrastructure has very limited responsibility. Its key responsibilities lie in ensuring that any major development that is approved has appropriate infrastructure planned for as part of the development scheme. The Council is also responsible for monitoring the provision of the infrastructure provided by the developer or other strategic partners. 

    Within a development site itself, the developer will normally be responsible for delivering that infrastructure, whilst infrastructure outside the site such as Highways work will be undertaken by an appropriate provider. The following agencies are responsible for the delivery of their respective Infrastructure: 

    East Sussex County Council: Highways (local roads)Education / SchoolsPublic Footpaths and BridlewaysCycle paths, Libraries 

    NHS Sussex Integrated Care BoardDoctors Surgeries / Hospitals 

    Rail Infrastructure: Network Rail 

    Strategic Highway infrastructure: National Highways 

    Turning to the use of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Contributions, the District portion of the levy is used for major strategic infrastructure projects, the details of which can be found within the annual Infrastructure Fundings Statements (IFS). 

    The IFS sets out a detailed breakdown of both the CIL and S106 income and expenditure and can again be found on our website at Infrastructure Funding Statement and CIL Annual Monitoring Reports - Wealden District Council - Wealden District Council. The IFS for 2022/2023 will be published in December 2023. 

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    Hello, I've emailed Polegate council regarding this but it's been ignored. On the corner of Black Path and the high street, there is an incredibly overgrown hedge. It's a mix of plants, including holly. I myself have a toddler that uses a buggy, it can be very hard to get by. I always worry she'll get scratched by the holly. This must be even more difficult for wheelchair users. I don't know who is responsible for the maintenance, but surely the council should be over seeing such things and fining anyone that doesn't maintain it. It is on a public footpath after all. I hope this finds you and it can be resolved soon. Thanks very much, Amy

    Amy asked 6 months ago

    Dear Amy, thank you for your question regarding hedgerow maintenance along Polegate high street. All verges along the roadside are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council; Urban Highways are cut six times a year and the Rural Highways just twice. It is, however, possible that the hedgerows you have mentioned do not fall within the County Council’s remit either and it is the responsibility of the private landowner to maintain them.  

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    This is not a question but a congratulations for launching this on-line hub opening up the ability to find out what is going on and enabling us as the residents the ability to contribute.

    Norman asked 6 months ago

    Thank you, we appreciate your support! 

Page last updated: 02 Feb 2024, 02:04 PM