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the Eton versus East Chiltington chronicles
Democracy is something which changes the people you see in the tv news. It doesn't work the same way in planning - where it's what you know which matters more. Even if every single resident were to take part in the new Lewes District Local Plan - Issues and Options consultation (July 9, 2021 to September 3, 2021) and if they all indicated they didn't want a new town to be built - here in East Chiltington or anywhere else either - there's no guarantee that's what would happen. Despite those reservations - a high level of resident participation is one way of applying democratic pressure and influential oversight.

Planning??? - 3 new guides

Zsolt Kerekes - editor, June 1, 2021

I didn't want to write this
You don't want to read it
Grasslands didn't ask Eton for death by concrete
Knowledge is power. Time to rebalance the weights
LDC's new (satnav-busting) Local Plan

That sequence just about sums it up.

Another load of stuff which you'd rather not spend the rest of your life trying to understand - but on the other hand - you need enough survivor skills to navigate your way safely through. Or face questions like this.

"Grandma, Grandad - why do all the new films about the Battle of Britain have CGI when they show the spitfires flying over the fields - instead of real fields like they used to in the old days?"

"Well Dear - partly it's health and safety - because there aren't that many of those old planes still working any more and it's dangerous to fly them, but mostly it's because there isn't any real countryside left."

"Was it bombed? By Hitler? Is it all just big craters now?"

"No Dear. It's complicated. Why don't we watch a nice scary film about Aliens instead."

stop the need for CGI countryside in future films

3 new resource guides on Planning???
  • Make your voice heard! - from Don't Urbanise the Downs is a civilian's guide to the planning process in Lewes with a lookahead to a 2 month long consultation process starting July 9th.
    DUTD planning blog
    Ostensibly this "consultation" is a democratic process to help planners decide the public's mood and preferences between a small number of large land plots like the Eton site or a large number of small plots.

    Editor's comments:- useful - from the viewpoint of residents who want their views to carry weight - the DUTD article has useful links you can click on to keep in touch and take part,
  • The Local Plan – A Brief Synopsis by Eton-Welbeck - is a well written and detailed guide - as you'd expect from this experienced land promoter company.

    This not so brief Synopsis - explains (among other things) what were the gaps and loopholes in the current planning framework which made it attractive for them to launch their self described "speculative planning application" for the Eton new town at this point in time. And it includes flowcharts which outline the planning process.
    flow chart of the planning process for  Eton new town development in East Chiltington
    Editor's comments:- This is a "must read" document if you're determined to invest tens more hours of your life trying to understand the planning labyrinth and how it relates to the inclusion or exclusion of new towns in the mix. But it's only the start of a long journey. Summaries by campaign groups and the press may provide enough explanation of these iterative and unpredictable processes for most people.

    The authors - Eton-Welbeck - have had plenty of time to work on this professionally crafted document. It's now thought that Eton-Welbeck may have been in discussions with LDC planners about the Eton new town concept for about 12 months - before it became publicly known to East Chiltington residents in February 2021.
  • Concerned about developments in your area is an upcoming webinar - taking place on Monday, 7th June, 4-6pm.
    CPRE info about planning
    "CPRE Sussex and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership are jointly running a webinar on how to make your views known on planning applications and proposed site allocations, and how to pursue these representations at appeal."
Later:- you can't keep a good developer out of an objector meeting. During the zoom meeting there was a question by a representative from Eton Welbeck. And then the questions on how to defeat them stopped. More on this later.

"Of course, neighbourhood planning is far from perfect.... Over-ridden plans can cause resentment and loss of trust. They can also fail to capture a communitys experience and aspirations. One member of a group I worked closely with for some years complained after the plan was complete that - I just can't see anything of us in there. It's like a document from the council, it doesn't feel like our town."
Andy Yuille - Research Fellow, Lancaster University - in his article Changes to UK planning threaten communities' rights (June 25, 2021).

Would he think it rude if I asked him
to clean the windows while he's about it?
consultation - the burglar analogy

What's Silent Spring got to do with Eton-Welbeck's new town plan for East Chiltington?
Final Spring in Novington Lane?
silent spring and concrETON image wrongthingwrongplacedotcom

say no to new town - wrong thing wrong place
Captain Feary reads the scrolls

I'm just a simple writer who doesn't understand these things - so I asked some goblin developers I know how they might solve these problems.

NPPF flooding? - Concerned about flooding risks from hard landscaping in the Eton new town? No problem - we'll scoop out that dip in Novington Lane under the railway bridge and build a marina.

NPPF transport? - Who likes Brighton anyway? No - seriously - we love it. Great Blighton was a contender in the naming shortlist. Infrastructurewise - we're going to connect the North Barnes Canal through the Novington tunnel. And we'll have cycle tracks on both sides so that no one has to pedal uphill if they just want to get to civilization.

Schools? One of the lessons learned from the covid lockdowns was... wait for it - we don't need schools. Every house will get a free connection to community broadband - and every room will have USB charging points.

Landscape? - This was a tricky one. We're in consultation with SDNP to install sunlight capable projectors. Coupled with the special paint on the new buildings - will make the view look almost exactly the same for anyone looking down. (We can make it look better too.)

Noise? - Did I forget to say - the new paint is noise absorbant. But we're not just relying on that. MOD is giving us a good deal on active noise cancellation - originally designed to make helicopters whisper quiet. So - that recycling of cold war technology is saving the taxpayer money.

Sheep, lambs, cows? - Protestors ask - where are they going to graze? Our ecological report proves that everyone living in the new town will be vegetarians - so we won't need to maintain those obsolete and cruel farming practises any more. And farm animals are responsible for most global warming. Methane! QED. So that's another environmental reason for getting rid of the fields. Not all though. We're setting some aside - as car parks for the Rural Experience Visitors Centre.

now let's get serious...

"After spending years participating in the plan making process the local community still has little or no idea about what is going to be built in their area and... after spending a lot of time and money developers are often still very unsure about what the outcome of a planning application will be." - said the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (3.36)

"Seeking to strengthen neighbourhood plans, the National Association of Local Councils stated that neighbourhood plans should also cover historical assets as well as land use. They also stressed the importance of certainty, noting that many communities had been "crushed" when their plans were overturned for providing insufficient housing land or numbers." (3.51)
Quotes above are from - Local Plans - chapter 3 - The future of the planning system in England - Parliamentary Report (June 10, 2021)

South Downs Eton by dog - wrongthingwrongplace.com

South Downs Eton by dog



"Follow the money. In housing it's the land beneath where the assetization is minted."
the simple ma££s of planning gain

"...it is perfectly possible for different people to reach different conclusions regarding the same development proposal. When a planning application is being prepared, it is therefore crucial that time is spent to make sure that the benefits of the proposal are maximised as much as they can be, while any harms are minimised as far as possible. The application should also clearly set out what the development plan says, what the material considerations are, and the weight that should be given to each."
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE: How planning decisions are made - by The Strategic Land Group

Editor's comments:- this is a useful guide written by a land promoter which has no connection at all with the Eton new town proposal. We can all learn a lot by reading what leading companies in the planning game are saying.