Welcome

Berwick is a small village at the foot of the South Downs in East Sussex with a population of around 270. There is a post office, a station, a Church, two pubs, a zoo and an English wine centre amongst other small enterprises.

Berwick Parish:

Click on the link below to see a map of the parish of Berwick.
Berwick Parish Map_20120118

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This next Parish Council Meeting will be on Wednesday 24th January at 7pm, in Berwick Village Hall.

The agenda can be found below:

Agenda of Meeting 24 January 2024

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March 2024 Newsletter

Newsletter Feb 2024

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bus Service Update

A significant number of bus service improvements were made in East Sussex from Sunday 23 July. These include new weekend services on some routes. Most are funded through East Sussex County Council’s successful bid to UK Government, in support of the BSIP.

We have attached the services for the Wealden area and this is the link for all:

Improvements to Bus Services | East Sussex County Council

New timetables should be available now or shortly on the bus operators’ websites.

We would also draw attention to the lower fares that have been introduced as part of the BSIP. This includes the £2 bus fare scheme which the Government has extended to October 2023 as part of Help for Households. Other fare news can be found here: Lower fares on East Sussex bus services | East Sussex County Council.

You are probably already aware of the introduction of FlexiBus by the County Council also. Operating in the rural areas of the county, this initiative aims to deliver the BSIP’s objective of providing residents in rural areas of East Sussex with access to a bus service where there is no public transport route. This will enable residents to connect to the wider bus or rail network and access vital services. You can read more about FlexiBus here: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roads-transport/public/flexibus

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If you are considering becoming a councillor, please watch this video:

Click here to watch video

Statement of Persons Nominated

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.Volunteers Needed
Click on Image to enlarge
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Grosvenor Britain and Ireland has been appointed to promote the development of around 2,500 homes on farmland north west of Hailsham in East Sussex.

The proposed development lies on either side of the River Cuckmere at Starnash Farm, Coldharbour Road and land to the north-west of Hempstead Lane.

More details can be found at: Home - North West Hailsham - Grosvenor.

No planning application has been received but if there are any a formal consultation will follow.

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Publication of the Local Plan - Direction of Travel Consultation Document
 
The Council is preparing a new local plan for Wealden District. The Local Plan will provide policies to shape our places, plan and manage growth in the district and guide development over a 15-20 year period. The Local Plan will ultimately be the key planning document against which we assess and make decisions on planning applications.

If you would like to read the document and contribute your views, click here to download the pdf which includes links.

'Berwick Parish Council's Response to the Direction of Travel Consultation;

Tackling climate change.

We think it is good that the District Council is considering the promotion of climate-positive interventions. The safeguarding of land at Arlington to expand existing water storage will greatly affect the parish, whilst we support this, the subsequent traffic will require appropriate management. A concern is a general trend to reduce parking spaces. Rural areas are often too far from population centres for cycling or walking to be realistic options for regular travel. Meanwhile rural public transport services are being reduced with increasing prices, this places higher reliance on the principal travel method being the private motor vehicle. Reducing parking allocation in rural areas is often damaging to safe traffic management, where sustainable travel methods are not provided.

Infrastructure to support growth

As per the comments above a general trend of reduction in rural public transport services and walking/cycling not being viable options, the District Council has little impact on the running of privately owned public services or existing public facilities and should not suggest policies they cannot reliably enforce. Protection of village shops, public houses and rail services are based on attraction to the area, little a policy on retaining them can directly affect. The rural parts of the county are generally woefully underinvested in infrastructure in particular for education and medical services, often villages have been promised these facilities through Section106 agreements which do not come to fruition. We would like to see how the council would enforce these agreements or appropriately use CIL to achieve this infrastructure. Also noting that development is required to generate CIL but the infrastructure is required before the development being occupied. CIL seems to be an ineffective tool at meeting the community requirements.

Localised improvements in telecommunications would greatly improve the attractiveness of the area, but we are interested to understand how the district council would achieve this without significant development.

All of this growth is predicated on significant improvements to the A27 the council should be clearer on what is meant by this, there are several improvements proposed and all are unviable at this stage, delivery of significant growth would be undermined without improvements to the A27/A22 yet delivery of many of the proposed improvements to the A27/A22 would undermine many of the positive elements of the proposed policies such as biodiversity, landscape and heritage protection. This then has the potential to be compounded with the growth the improvements would enable.

Housing

The number of houses required to be provided appears to be high in comparison to the number of existing households. Given the lack of allocation in areas outside of Wealden with better infrastructure, this appears to be a dumping of housing in Wealden far greater than what is sustainable for the county.

Generally, we would agree there is a requirement for housing nationally but that should be spread across the country and would apply a similar sentiment to houses across the county. Any new houses should be spread in proportion to the existing settlement size. Where larger developments are required, the District Council has a responsibility to communicate the potential impacts and manage those appropriately with the existing local community.

There is a lack of good quality affordable housing across the county, the council should focus on delivering this and promoting a reduction in under-occupancy of houses, we believe this is best done by providing excellent quality houses.

The definition of affordable housing also requires review, 80% of the market value promotes poor quality and potentially values still higher than the average household can afford. This is not a sustainable policy. Equally nor is the blanket policy of affordable housing at all major sites, some simply do not support quality housing at that price point.

Local economy

The promotion of the local economy is welcomed.  We would note the reliance within the proposed policy on commercial and industrial uses, in a county where a significant proportion is AONB, National Park or agricultural land. Might it be more suitable to assist existing businesses in particular agricultural businesses to improve profits, rather than attracting new?

Generally, the pandemic appears to be increasing online working and shopping investment in telecommunications might be better placed than new commercial shopping outlets. Policies that promote local business over attracting new business would be more welcome. In particular, those areas that are rural require special protection.

Town centres

Improvements to existing town centres, in particular around public transport would be welcomed more than the creation of new town centres.

Tourism

Whilst we welcome tourism as a way to boost the economy previous policies on the local economy, infrastructure and housing appear to be at odds with promoting tourism based on the natural environment.

In Berwick we are likely to be affected by the proposed new reservoir significantly and whilst it has the potential to be a great tourist attraction a lack of improvement to local infrastructure mass tourism would not be suitable at that location. We fear the council will reduce parking in an attempt to promote sustainable travel options which will lead to roads being blocked making them unsafe, as they have been of recent.

Biodiversity / Natural environment

The protection of biodiversity and the natural environment is welcomed but the polices appear to refer to the protection of existing areas and generation of buffer zones, suggesting large scale developments. There is no mention of how to improve biodiversity above the notion of further research, should it not be imperative that this is a priority rather than increasing the built environment. Else it appears all policies on biodiversity are notional rather than deeply considered.

Landscape, heritage and cultural assets

This is all welcomed, we would note that some heritage assets have been left to degrade due to councils and Historic England not permitting appropriate uses previously. Policies to protect landscape only appear to promote existing national protections, not protecting the others seems at odds of increasing biodiversity and the natural environment.

Design

This is welcomed but more detail is required.

Health

The policies are generally welcomed, we note this is generally funded by the CIL and Section 106 agreements which are often not timed appropriately, equally concerns about the lack of health care provision in rural areas, and the inability to attract medical staff to the area is concerning with such an increase in population proposed'.

'Our Growth Options

The number of houses required to be provided appears to be high in comparison to the number of existing households. Given the lack of allocation in areas outside of Wealden with better infrastructure, this appears to be a dumping of housing in Wealden far greater than what is sustainable for the county.

Generally, we would agree there is a requirement for housing nationally but that should be spread across the country and would apply a similar sentiment to houses across the county. Any new houses should be spread in proportion to the existing settlement size. Where larger developments are required, the District Council has a responsibility to communicate the potential impacts and manage those appropriately with the existing local community.

There is a lack of good quality affordable housing across the county, the council should focus on delivering this and promoting a reduction in under-occupancy of houses, we believe this is best done by providing excellent quality houses.

The definition of affordable housing also requires review, 80% of the market value promotes poor quality and potentially values still higher than the average household can afford. This is not a sustainable policy. Equally nor is the blanket policy of affordable housing at all major sites, some simply do not support quality housing at that price point'.

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Healthy Wealden - New Website

To view the Healthy Wealden website click through here: https://www.healthywealden.co.uk/.

Please follow and like the Healthy Wealden Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HealthyWealden/ for updated health and wellbeing information, events and campaigns in Wealden.  We are always actively seeking content for this page so please let me know if you would like us to include information on any clubs and activities taking place in your area.

I would like to thank you for your help and support in helping us produce the Healthy Wealden website.  We hope it will be a valuable tool in improving the health and wellbeing of Wealden residents and visitors to our district.
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A limited number of Central Heating Grants are available - Do you qualify? - click here for more info.

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Wealden Local Plan

Wealden Local Plan download (.pdf file)

Wealden local Plan Maps (.pdf file)

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