BRIAN NICHOLLS - HX PARISH COUNCIL MEMBERS 2023
SUICIDE JUNCTION 2021 - Is this one of the most dangerous junctions in Sussex? That is the view of many local residents who objected most strongly to the proposal that may see up to 70 more houses access an A road that is itself substandard and overloaded. It is a pothole nightmare, another issue of concern to people that are forced to drive along this poorly maintained stretch of road. It cannot get better with more traffic to cope with, it can only get worse.
Apparently, all of the members squat in the same little office in the village high street. The housing shortage must be worse than we thought:
Herstmonceux Parish Council
Ward: Brian Nicholls is a Councillor for Herstmonceux Castle Ward
Where they have supported umpteen applications for executive homes in and around the area, the Parish Council in Hertsmonceux is making low income families poorer, and less likely to ever be able to get on the property ladder - or rather - escape renting poverty.
The absolute lack of land for self-builds, is another major issue for those considering entering the property market with self-build flat-packs on the market, that do not need traditional services, to be legal. We are hopeful that in 2023 the Parish Council will be looking to address this deficiency as far as they may.
Affordable homes are generally Net Zero, unlike many of the quite large up-market houses that litter the A271, as you may have noticed as you dodge the potholes. Affordable homes are thus climate change friendly, or friendlier.
As interested bystanders, putting ourselves in the minds of those looking for low cost homes, we are not in agreement with the way Wealden District Council [WDC] are spending the money they are claiming as council taxes, to support their kleptocratic empire building ambitions – that looks to be to increase officer salaries, benefits for employees, land purchases other than for low cost housing, and enhanced pensions, all the while they have not catered for low income families as required to do so under the National Planning Policy Framework - and just to be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience.
This agenda is forcing many deeper into unaffordable debt (financial servitude) and causing much mental anguish and suffering and the feeling of degradation they are forcing upon those on low incomes, using intimidatory tactics in the Magistrates Courts, Summonses and Liability Orders, that may not be either lawful or legal - especially after consideration of the abandonment of the applicable affordability policies, a clear interference in the private and family life of low income persons – knowing full well that many mothers, in particular, are struggling to cope, such contrivances being contrary to articles 3, 4 and 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
WDC have pursued a programme designed to advantage wealthy landlords and favoured property developers, allowing them to build executive housing, over a prolonged period, so creating the present renting society, depriving young families of the chance of owning (or renting) an affordable and sustainable unit, to reduce outgoings (mortgage far lower than present market rents), especially highlighted in the present cost of living crisis.
GENUINELY AFFORDABLE HOUSING - The above CAD generated diagram shows 12 building plots for 18' x 54' flatpack units - on a one acre site, to include parking, but not including an access road. Arable land is roughly £8-9k per acre. An uplift of 100% for compulsory purchase - on land earmarked for Low Cost Exceptions; self-build starter homes (NPPF). Sites thus acquired for villages, will yield plots for registered persons at around £1,670 per plot.
An acre can be any shape, so long as the area is 43,560 square feet, the size of a field one man can plough in a day with a horse. For local plans, longer thinner sites might meld better.
Now, this really is affordable stuff. Flatpacks are around £30-40k, with solar power, borehole/pump and waste treatment pack coming in well under £50k per home. Against which mortgage repayments are roughly £250 per month. And a reduction in Council Tax, to Band A, for those renting executive houses at over £9000 per month. Good news for the homeless, not so good for overpriced market dealers, and price fixing councils, who use their power to monopolize the planning system, to obtain higher rateable bandings - to pay their enhanced pensions. Such councils, dealing in human misery, might be deemed planning criminals, no better than King Charles II and his African Royal Trading Company, officially sanctioning slave trading.
And that this is so, simply because WDC have failed to identify and provide land for self builds, etc., as required by the English
National Planning Policy
Framework as "Entry Level Exception Sites" (Section 65 (d)). And at Section 68 (a), where they have to identify Specific Deliverable Sites - for a five year period.
Granted, that this is not within the power of the Parish Council, but
the Members might consider lobbying, and/or objecting to any more
executive housing, until such equitable obligations are fulfilled.
At this time it is unclear if Wealden is solvent, after investing in projects like the leisure complex and Hailsham town centre purchases/developments, or if, like many other UK council's, WC is heading for issue of a Section 114 Notice, where there are striking parallels to Woking Borough Council's investment strategy - such plans should of course turn a profit, to help reduce Council Taxes. Woking's £2 billon pound deficit increased dramatically following an investment strategy which saw their council borrow hundreds of millions of pounds for regeneration projects. All the while there were homeless people on the streets. The most high profile was the Victoria Square development in Woking town, which was based on £750m of borrowing. Reports showed the project was worth just £200m.
Wealden have always been extremely guarded about their accounts. We suspect, because they do not bear inspection. It is possible that poor investments have led to higher council taxes than would otherwise have been the case, had income been spent investing in the next generation, and sustainable technology. Also, that council civil servants were actually in the offices working, thus accountable, and not relaxing at home, such that normal services suffered - and yet salaries were still the same.
For low earners, having to pay for a higher banding, simply because there is no low cost housing stock, is one of the reasons so many people are being forced into debt in a cost of living crisis - all the fault of WDC. It is a form of discrimination, a violation of Article 14. Rents are some £1,000 per calendar month. A mortgage on genuinely affordable self-build units, is between £40-100k, with interest repayments of between £200-500 per calendar month, on a 25 year loan. It cost less than one fifth - to half to live if you buy, and cut out the rich landlords, from their jam sandwich.
The going rate for land is roughly £7-9,000 for arable pasture. If Allocated for starter self builds, without services. I.e. just plots, including an uplift for compulsory purchases to £20k per acre. Equals 12 plots per acre @ £1670 per plot. See diagram.
Wealden have no 'Local List' of buildings of character and historical legacy that add to the general interest of the locality and give holiday makers and tourists something extra to put on their tick list, or indeed, may be a good reason to choose this location as a place to visit. Herstmonceux was famous for Trugs, until the rather unique Truggery in the village was allowed to be developed as housing, so closing off that venue, as a Sussex location to visit. At present the only heritage asset within walking distance of the village, is the old Generating Station, accessible from the village via a well trodden public footpath.
It appears to us that there are some heritage assets that Wealden, and perhaps the Parish council do not want recognised in perversity.
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