Council rules "Eton New Town" not suitable for development

26 Oct 2023
James MacCleary and Daniel Stewart-Roberts with a rural street in the background

News that Lewes District Council are recommending that the so-called “Eton New Town” on North Barnes Farm in East Chiltington is not put forward for the new Local Plan has been welcomed by local Lib Dem campaigners.

According to papers that will go to the District Council's next Cabinet meeting in November, the council has built an extensive base of evidence which shows that the site is “Not deliverable or developable".
James MacCleary who is the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes constituency said: “I have always been very clear that the so-called 'Eton New Town' site at North Barnes Farm near East Chiltington should not go forward for consultation as part of the council's development of a new Local Plan. The council's planning team have been very thorough in gathering a detailed evidential base which confirms the view that local residents and local Lib Dems have long held - that North Barnes Farm is an unacceptable site for development that has no place in the Local Plan. This will be a huge relief to all who have been campaigning against it for so long, and I congratulate all local campaigners who are working so hard on this issue.
"The whole process has been made that much harder thanks to the relentless stream of misinformation from local MP Maria Caulfield. In a recent press release she stated that the site had been allocated in the Local Plan when this was clearly not the case.

"There is still some way to go in the Local Plan process, but we now know that the council will not be recommending that North Barnes Farm is in the Plan. The only way that can now change is if the government inspector over-rules the council's decision. As a member of the government I hope that Maria Caulfield will now dedicate her energies to lobbying her Conservative colleagues to ensure that they do not betray local residents as they have on so many other issues in recent years. We will all be watching very closely." 
Local Lib Dem District Councillor, Daniel Stewart-Roberts, said: "Although the Local Plan is still in a draft stage, and not yet finalised, this is a nail in the coffin for the idea of a 'New Town' in an utterly unsuitable location. The lack of infrastructure, the impact on the local environment and landscape at the foot of the National Park means that it will NOT be in the Council's draft plan."
Lib Dem County Councillor for Plumpton, Sarah Osborne, said: "Local Lib Dems have opposed the site of the “New Town” since the idea was first suggested and James, Daniel and myself will continue to make the case against it."

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