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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    Could you please explain the process of site allocation in the latest Draft Plan? I’m struggling to understand the process of how some of the sites allocated in the draft plan have been deemed suitable for housing when the Planning Inspectorate has dismissed appeals on them? Why have the sites been included if the Inspectorate has said No? Examples are Clearview Farm and Great Easterfields in Horam and several sites in Cross in Hand where other recent applications have been refused, and appeals dismissed due to the adverse effects on the AONB? And why aren’t WDC claiming exceptional circumstances as detailed in the December 2023 NPPF to protect our AONB? I’m sure Canterbury City Council have just removed a huge new town and many miles of roads from their plan. With over 50% of the District a National Landscape why are you not doing more to protect it? Has the High Weald AONB Unit been consulted on these new site locations? Many thanks

    JO2024 asked 28 days ago

    Dear JO2024, 

    Thank you for taking the time to ask a question, however i am going to point you towards our new Ask the Development Manager page on our Planning Hub. Planning Hub - Wealden District Council - Wealden District Council 

    Kind regards

    James

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    If an area is designated as being of outstanding natural beauty ONB is housing development permitted ?

    John L P asked about 2 months ago

    Dear John, 

    Thank you for your question. I am going to point you towards our Ask the Development Manager page on the Planning Hub for a response to your question. Planning Hub - Wealden District Council - Wealden District Council 

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    Good afternoon Mr Partridge, I mistakenly asked the following question of the Chair on 5th December. It was passed on, but unfortunately not answered. I have since been told that Cllr Standley was the leader of the council, not the Chair. I am concerned with the apparent complete lack of facilities in or for the southern parishes. I understand that significant funds have been received over recent years across the south of the District in community infrastructure levy, and would be grateful to know what community infrastructure has been provided. I am aware that a new sports centre is to be built at Lower Dicker. By public transport this is within a reasonable distance of Hailsham, Heathfield and Uckfield, but unfortunately would mean a round trip of over 2 hours from East Dean, Pevensey or Stone Cross, and a similar journey from Willingdon and Jevington. A previous Chair informed me that the Council consider it unnecessary to provide facilities to this area, as we could use those within Eastbourne. Is this still the policy of Wealden District Council? Thank you for your advice.

    Martin Cooper asked 3 months ago

    Good morning Martin, 

    First of all thank you for taking the time to write a question. After reading through it, I think this is better suited to an Freedom of Information request. I have forwarded onto our Information Governance Team who will be dealing with this and will come back to you soon regarding the CIL money. 

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    Dear Cllr Partridge, Can you please provide me with any details as to what amount of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) monies are earmarked for environmental projects and especially ones that might help combat climate change and our declining biodiversity? With the amount of habitat loss now taking place within Wealden owing to overdevelopment ( and Government housing targets!) I would hope , especially now that the Council has a new political complexion that direct projects such as Parish and landowners tree planting schemes or supporting local nature conservation bodies such as SWT could be high on the District agenda. With nature and access to the natural world now eventually being acknowledged as so important for both mental and physical wellbeing such projects will surely chime with what the Council maintains are amongst its priorities. Is there a Sub Committee or Members group with any specific remit in consideration of such matters please- and can the public attend or better still address such group? Sincerely, David Phillips

    David Phillips asked 4 months ago

    Dear David, 

    Thank you for taking the time to send through an Ask the Leader question and apologies it has taken me so long to respond. This is more of a Freedom of Information request and would need to be answered by our Information Governance team. I have forwarded onto the team and they will respond with the information that you require. 

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    How much Community Infrastructure Levy ( CIL) money has Wealen collected for Hailsham and also Hellingly Parish in the last year, last 3 years and last 5 years please? Where can I see Wealden’s “123” list of priorities for spending this money please?

    D. Phillips asked 4 months ago

    Good morning D.Phillips and thank you for your question. 

    After reading through your question, I believe that this is more of a Freedom of Information request, so I have forwarded onto our information governance team to look into this. They will respond to you with the information that you require. 

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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 4 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 4 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 4 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 5 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 6 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.

     

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