WEALDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL
& THE DUTY TO PROTECT THE HISTORIC BUILT ENVIRONMENT
WEALD COUNTRY - The Weald area of Sussex is famous for its rolling fields and downs. This is not a particularly attractive view, but is captured because of the winter sunset that tends to make even an ordinary scape look so much better. Copyright © photograph Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd., December 2017.
Wealden District Council is the local authority responsible for protecting the historic built environment and reducing carbon emissions under the United Nations directives that all member states are bound by. This council owe the nation a general duty of care in this respect, but so far have not compiled a Local List' of buildings of historic interest, where other local authorities are more responsible and care about our past. We wonder then about their priorities?
Councils occupy a position of trust, when once asking for rates by way of a local tax, they are then bound by contract to provide services that the electorate expect, in accordance with the laws of the land set down in statute and in common law as caselaw. Profiting personally or pursuing any agenda that is not lawful but for gain for themselves or another associate or family friend is an abuse of office that is not only immoral but also illegal. Such impropriety must be identified and quashed as examples to other councils that they should tread lightly or suffer the consequences.
It is alleged that from 1983 onwards this Council wasted more than £500,000 five hundred thousand pounds of tax payers money arguing that the generating buildings were not what they are. This was up until an independent Report was commissioned by East Sussex County Council in 1999. Since then they have refused to fight on that score or put the record right.
Wealden stand accused of institutionalized discrimination, where it is alleged that for many years they have been using their authority to try to secure the old generating buildings for near neighbours, rather than assist the former or present occupiers with their conservation efforts. Such an agenda violates Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This Convention, the result of WWII peace agreements prohibits discrimination - one notable incident was seeking the removal of toilet facilities that backfired after Judge Dame Butler-Sloss suggested that the toilets could be re-fitted to comply with the Health & Safety Regulations 1992.
As a Council, they have failed to secure affordable housing for young families in the Wealden area, remaining some 20,000 units short of the targets set by the Secretary of State many years ago. This comes down to a massive burden on families starting out in life who are looking to buy their own home at locally affordable prices but are destined to rent and move, again and again as greedy landlords seek to extract every last penny from their properties in the UK.
FARMING - Major producers of greenhouse gases are farms that produce meat, like this farm off Church Road near Herstmonceux. The production of meat is of course essential but should perhaps be balanced with other less climate unfriendly farming enterprise, such as fishing in sustainable fisheries and if sustainably fed, fish produced in aquaculture. Copyright © photograph Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd., December 2017.
It appears to us that Wealden are still in an Empire building phase and completely out of touch with the move to sustainability and the Circular Economy. The result of such an: "I'm alright Jack" approach (I'm alright Bob in this case) is that many generations to come will remain financial slaves to private landlords, where rents are then paid out of rate payer's money for housing benefit for low income families. Again, nobody seems to have heard of the Sustainable Circular Economy in the Wealden district. Rather it is money for the few wealthy landowners at the expense of the many workers - making financial slaves of this generation and the next to come.
England, or rather the United Kingdom is thus the land of inequality and oppression, rather than a land of opportunity and this is something that all political parties should seek to redress, whether: Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat. Failure to re-balance the economy is likely to separate, rather than unite the Kingdom. Simply put, Great Britain is no longer great where Councils remain a law unto themselves and wholly unaccountable for their misdeeds.
Fortunately, a good deal of our heritage remains despite the best efforts of local politicians to ignore their duty in respect of the historic built environment. Herstmonceux Museum is just one example of a building hanging in there against all odds.
MONUMENT AT RISK - The main generating buildings when they were in need a new roof and other repairs. The felt roof was a temporary measure to prevent water ingress, where privately owned historic buildings are not considered to be important enough to warrant help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage or Historic England. A third range of the twin gabled building is missing in this picture where it was taken down in 1936 to remove the large gas engine inside, but not returned to the original layout because of World War Two and changing priorities in an uncertain political atmosphere. Planning permission is not required to re-instate as this would constitute a repair, but in any event Permitted Development rights allow up to a 50% percent increase in area if the height of the original building is not exceeded. The Trust is considering full reinstatement, subject to building regulations being waived or explained to enable as near an authentic reconstruction in wood.
Wood is a wonderful building material. Pound for pound it is stronger than steel. Wood locks up carbon dioxide to help combat climate change and is a renewable resource that can be used to build the most beautiful buildings.
FILMING NO GO - Wealden District Council's David Whibley explains that although a permitted development, that in fact filming is not allowed in Sussex because of the Ashdown Forest and carbon emissions that may be associated with shooting scenes. This is one reason that we are going over to a virtual museum. We would not want to upset Wealden in their efforts to preserve the ancient woodlands, no matter how disingenuous their intentions when viewed against developments such as the recent (2013) Uckfield 1,000 non-energy self-sufficient housing estate. We understand that many planning applications are being routinely refused because of traffic movements. Why not make sure that all new households use electric vehicles that are solar charged. No more silly arguments from uninformed civil servants, but obviously a big change in travel arrangements for the man on the street. Does Bob drive an electric car. Does David Whibley drive an electric car. How many electric vehicles does Wealden operate. We wonder? They appear to say one thing and do another, having lumbered the ratepayer with substantial debts to pay off from investing overseas in a manner that should never have been allowed - and to our mind constitutes negligence on a grand scale.
COUNCILLORS SERVING IN 2017 INTO 2018
SUNSHINE - Have they seen the light yet? No a chance. They are blinded by profits and greed. Try telling a landlord to reduce his rents. That is the same as asking a Council to encourage affordable development. They don't want that on their doorstep because it means less income for their gratuity trough. Copyright © photograph Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd., December 2017.
ANTIQUE DOCUMENT - This is an amazingly rare find, a document dated from February of 1911. These are one of a series of instructions to the engineers who were operating the generating machinery in Lime Park. You may notice that in addition to generating electricity for the village, that plant was in situ for making ice. Luxury indeed in 1911 when we had Arctic ice to fall back on. What do we tell the polar bears now?
IS HE OUT OF TOUCH - Councillor Robert Standley is still the Leader of Wealden District Council after many years of what you may agree looks like fumbling the ball - a council that appears not to take climate change seriously, let alone their responsibilities under the 2008 Act. Nor are they taking the homeless situation seriously, with slums still an issue in a modern society.
Many are now saying that after (probably) too many years in office that members become jaded and out of touch with what is required for the sustainable future of Wealden residents. It is said that they attend too many officer-run courses designed to brain-wash them until they are brain dead. This prevents them ever forming a vision for the future - and to lead you need a vision - not to promote an officer infused vision that from past performance is doomed to failure.
Under the lead of Bob Standley, as he prefers to be called, Wealden have adopted an enforcement led approach, rather than a more helpful negotiation first approach. Such tactics are not sympathetic to a circular economy, where most planning matters can be resolved by talking about ways that compliance might be achieved.
The problem here is that negotiation is far removed from alternative agendas, such as trying to hide past mistakes. We think that in light of the stagnation new leadership is long overdue and we hope that Bob would be the first to agree. Do you have confidence in your council? Perhaps Robert should also think about his management team. Replacing non-performers might be a good start and something for this councilor's successor to consider when aiming for sustainability.
HERITAGE INDEX A - Z
OBSERVATORY - HERSTMONCEUX CASTLE
SOLAR LADY - STATUE
LINKS TO COUNCILLORS PAST & PRESENT
Angel - Jo
Bentley - John
Blake - Bob
Bowdler - Don
Broadbent - Norman
Buck - Raymond
Cade - John
Carvey - Lin
FRANKHAM CONSULTANCY GROUP -
Wealden District Council is implementing the amalgamation of its Crowborough and Hailsham sites, to put into practice a
Programme to ensure prioritised quality services might be delivered. At the core of this strategy is the refurbishment and extension of the Vicarage Lane Headquarters building in Hailsham,
LINKS TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT PAST & PRESENT
COUNCILLORS SERVING IN 2006 - 2010