Produced by the

Development Committee and Planning Executive
on behalf of Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council

Version 5.4
Adopted 12 October 2020 by Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council


 

Contents                                                                  

Section 1
Introduction

Section 2
Mayfield and Five Ashes Strategy, Vision, Mission and Goals

Section 3
The Mayfield and Five Ashes Local Plan 2020 to 2026

Section 4
Conclusion

 

Section 1                                                                 

Introduction

The Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish council approved a Strategy and Plan for the period 2006 to 2026. This plan was approved on 11 February 2008.

Wealden District Council, the relevant Planning Authority, submitted a new Submission Local Plan to the Secretary of State in January 2019. The Planning Inspectorate has refused this Plan as it failed to meet the requirement for legal compliance.

A National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the Government on 24 July 2018, and was updated on 19 February 2019, which is based on the principle of achieving sustainable development.

In the light of these significant developments Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council has determined to update its Strategy and Plan. The update that follows is entitled “Strategy and Local Plan” and covers the period to 2026.

Section 2                                                                 

The Mayfield and Five Ashes Strategy Vision, Mission and Goals

The Vision for the future for the Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council is outlined in this section of the Parish Strategy.

2.1    VISION
  • The strategy will cover the next 6 years, 2020 to 2026 being constantly reviewed.
  • To ensure that the Parish remains an attractive and vibrant area in which to live and work.
  • Maintain the Parish as a beautiful historic location in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB).
  • Protect and enhance the natural and built environment we have inherited.
  • Share the knowledge and understanding of these assets with others including the younger members of the community.
  • Maintain the active community and be seen to welcome visitors and newcomers.
  • Be inclusive of all members of the community.
  • Create a safe, sustainable community where people will want to live and work.
  • Develop our existing programme of performing arts and extend our reputation in the area for these activities.
  • There are many action plans leading to the achievement of this vision.
2.2    MISSION
  • The mission is to ensure that all these individual actions are coordinated and benefit from an integrated and holistic approach.
2.3     GOALS
  • To maximise the quality of life for all who visit, live and/or work in Mayfield & Five Ashes. Maximising ‘quality of life’ necessitates addressing each of the following individual areas:
  1. Environment and Conservation
  2. Economy
  3. Employment
  4. Tourism
  5. Transport
  6. Recreation
  7. Facilities and Amenities
  8. Culture
  9. Security
  10. Health
  11. Education
  12. Housing and Planning
  13. Communication

 

Our goals and action plans in detail

I Environment and Conservation

Goal: Protect and enhance the natural and built environment.

Action Plans:

  1. To maintain and preserve the Parish as a special place within the High Weald AONB.
  2. To develop a policy allowing small scale development to take place in the Parish subject to the development guidelines available under the High Weald AONB (Advice note from highweald.org on Legislation and Planning Policy in the High Weald AONB).
  3. To ensure the Conservation Area is regularly reviewed and there is general awareness of the newly extended conservation area.
  4. To develop pro-active approaches to conserving the unique features of the village as per the High Weald AONB Management Plan.
  5. To consider and possibly develop a renewable energy plan for Mayfield and Five Ashes.
  6. To ensure that adequate parking provision is made for residents, businesses, and visitors with a minimum of two parking spaces per new dwelling.
  7. To create a procedure for commenting on the siting and appearance of mobile telecom masts.
  8. To encourage the conversion of derelict farm buildings into local businesses or other uses in keeping with Wealden design policies and local need.
  9. To ensure that existing dark skies are protected and that new developments do not increase local light pollution.
  10. To develop a policy that allows small-scale development to take place outside the existing boundary subject to strict rules and criteria, which are sympathetic to the surroundings.
  11. To develop pro-active approaches to conserving the unique features and heritage of the villages, including buildings, trees, hedgerows, open spaces etc.

II       Economy

Goal: Promote local businesses.

Action Plans:

  1. To promote the Mayfield and Five Ashes Business Pages on the community website, social media and in print, distributed to a 10 mile radius.
  2. To ensure sufficient parking is provided for users of the local amenities.
  3. To encourage and support a viable community centre/ hub to encourage visitors and increase trade in local shops and businesses.
  4. To encourage local businesses to have an improved online presence encouraging visitors from surrounding towns and businesses.
  5. To encourage more regular and consistent business opening hours.
  6. To encourage the use of the annual village events to promote businesses.
  7. To provide support and guidance as appropriate to village businesses.
  8. To encourage inward investment in conjunction with appropriate regional business support bodies.
  9. To encourage the establishment of small business units within the Parish boundary.
  10. To help to ensure that the existing shops are retained as economically viable businesses.
  11. To oppose change of use from some local village retail services (shops, pubs etc.) and that the business classification policy should be kept as it is. The policy to be reviewed on a regular basis.
  12. To encourage a broad range of retail outlets.
  13. To help maximise the advantage of having a large and successful private secondary school in Mayfield and a private preparatory school in Five Ashes.

III       Employment

Goal: Endeavour to maximise employment for all who seek it within the villages.

Action Plans:

  1. To encourage business start-ups.
  2. To help to provide support for businesses that may require it through either existing or new village expertise and/or regional business support agencies.
  3. To identify skills of any significant numbers of unemployed in the Parish and encourage the establishment of businesses that might employ those with these skills. New business development should focus on small/medium-sized premises in suitable locations.
  4. To review youth employment and training policies and practices recognising that young people are looking for attractive work in our area, particularly by supporting the Wealden Works Project.

IV        Tourism

Goal: Promote the beauty and vitality of the parish to the wider UK to promote tourism

Actions Plans:

  1. To encourage the use of regularly updated social media outlets and community website to promote village events, achievements and attractions.
  2. To encourage the communication of local events through the churches and schools.
  3. To encourage cross selling marketing between current businesses and vice versa to increase footfall.
  4. To encourage visitors to the parish using social media.
  5. To create Mayfield Business Pages to promote local hospitality and retail outlets online and in print editions.
  6. To provide a tourist information point in Mayfield High Street.
  7. To encourage the marketing of Five Ashes to promote its businesses and rights of ways etc.
  8. To continue to support local food outlets including mobile eateries.
  9. To encourage the promotion of local history by the Local History Society.
  10. To promote Walking Publications and History Society research on Mayfield and Five Ashes.
  11. To endeavour to retain successful character pubs in the villages.
  12. To encourage theatrical, music and arts events throughout the year to promote Mayfield as a centre for excellence.
  13. To consider establishment of a suitable location for coach parking.
  14. To support the preservation of the Argos Hill Windmill.

V     Transport

Goal: Ensure that the transport requirements of Mayfield & Five Ashes village residents are met.

Action Plans:

  1. To ensure transport is available for the elderly and for all others who are without private transport.
  2. To encourage the sharing of transport wherever possible – for shopping, school runs etc.
  3. To endeavour to ensure the provision of an adequate public bus service.
  4. To continue to support the Wealdlink bus service to Crowborough.
  5. To help to publicise the national free bus fare scheme for villagers aged sixty and over.
  6. To publicise and encourage the use of the Mayfield Scout bus for community organisation outings.
  7. To support the MAYFACS activities that involve transport – e.g. monthly outings and transport to social lunches.
  8. To ensure the continuation of the Mayfield & Five Ashes Community Car Service., currently administered by MAYFACS.
  9. To encourage and support the provision of a local taxi service.
  10. Encourage the installation of charging points for electric vehicles.

VI   Recreation

Goal: Ensure adequate recreational activities for all villagers.

Action Plans:

  1. To encourage the provision of adequate recreational facilities for villagers of all ages including in Court Meadow, Five Ashes recreation ground, community halls etc.
  2. To help publicise, support and encourage the existing and new sports and recreational clubs and their facilities.
  3. To promote the use of off-road horse riding by opening up existing and new bridleways.
  4. To promote the use of public footpaths for walkers throughout the parish and to ensure they are maintained and accessible.
  5. To promote the development of cycle routes and encourage the use of village facilities through appropriate signage.
  6. To promote other country sports as may be appropriate.
  7. To protect all sport and recreational areas and facilities, unless suitable like for like location, accessibility and quality replacement provision is made.

VII  Facilities/ amenities

Goal: To ensure appropriate facilities and amenities are provided for the benefit of all villagers.

Action Plans:

  1. To ensure appropriate and adequate facilities and amenities are provided for all stakeholders in the villages, i.e. residents, businesses and visitors.
  2. To encourage the re-establishment of a village shop in Five Ashes insofar as this is possible and economically viable.
  3. To promote and support plans for building a new community centre, in order to facilitate the developments of community relationships.
  4. To work with the appropriate bodies to ensure adequate parking provision.
  5. To maintain the provision and maintenance of public toilets in the parish.
  6. To encourage other premises to make toilets accessible to the public.
  7. To promote wheelchair access wherever possible.
  8. To promote the provision of water-bottle top-up facilities.
  9. To encourage village tidy-up initiatives.

VIII  Culture and Places of Worship

Goal: To ensure a vibrant village culture and religious life

Action Plans:

  1. To ensure the continuation and promotion of places of worship.
  2. To encourage the enjoyment of a variety of cultural pursuits and local entertainment.
  3. To encourage an appropriate and broad range of groups i.e. clubs, youth groups (scouts, guides) and other art, music and drama societies.
  4. To encourage social responsibility throughout the community.
  5. To support the Mayfield Festival and the Mayfield Fringe Festival.

IX  Security

Goal: Promote a safe and desirable community in which to live, work and relax

Action Plans:

  1. To provide pro-active “Neighbourhood Watch” groups who will submit regular crime bulletins.
  2. To provide village networking to inform of trending scams and fraud.
  3. To promote a retail security arrangement, whereby shops/businesses share knowledge of suspicious behaviour etc.
  4. To encourage a wider spread of official, public and general information throughout the Parish, setting up new information points and disseminating information using technology and traditional methods.
  5. To encourage closer liaison with the police and other bodies to curtail antisocial behaviour.

X  Health

Goal: Endeavour to ensure a healthy society and support our residents in time of need.

Action Plans:

  1. To encourage and support the provision of a modern GP facility and medical centre.
  2. To continue to encourage local dental practices in the villages both private and NHS.
  3. To encourage village facilities for physiotherapists, osteopaths, opticians and podiatrists.
  4. To support the work of MAYFACS to continue to work with the elderly, young, vulnerable and with people with mental health problems and dementia.
  5. To continue to support the Dementia Awareness Programme.
  6. To support the work done by MAYFACS in times of crisis e.g. Covid-19 Pandemic.
  7. To support the village pharmacy.
  8. To ensure the three parish defibrillators are kept in place and regularly serviced.
  9. To support the Mayfield and Five Ashes Newsletter and community website to promote good health in the villages.
  10. To encourage the growth of locally produced organic foods both at farms, in gardens and allotments.
  11. To support the Hospice in the Weald.

XI  Education

Goal: To promote an educated village populace.

Action Plans:

  1. To endeavour to ensure that there is at least one thriving pre-school group in the Parish.
  2. To encourage a carer and toddler group for up to three year olds.
  3. To ensure the long term existence of primary education in the Parish, ideally in both Mayfield and Five Ashes.
  4. To liaise with and support our private schools, Mayfield School for Girls and Skippers Hill Preparatory School.
  5. To help promote those village societies with an educational bias.
  6. To help promote village cultural events having even a modest educational content.

XII  Housing and Planning

Goal: to ensure adequate housing provision for villagers

Action Plans:

  1. To encourage a strategy for the size of future developments that is focused on single houses such as self-builds or small developments of eight houses or less to prevent an over demand on the infrastructure and character of the village.
  2. To have a housing density for new developments of eight houses per acre.
  3. To ensure sufficient affordable housing is provided to meet the needs of those who require such accommodation and who have a connection with the village and to review this need at least every three years.
  4. To ensure sufficient retirement accommodation to meet the specific needs of the village’s older population.
  5. To allow ancillary dwellings for elderly /disabled relatives or carers providing appropriate controls are in place and these controls are totally enforceable.
  6. To encourage the development of rural businesses which would use and improve the condition of existing rural buildings.
  7. Ancillary dwelling to businesses providing key rural services should be permitted providing appropriate controls are in place.
  8. To ensure that the plans for a new Mayfield village hall/community centre are in keeping with the local environment.
  9. All new housing development to be counted in the annual total of new dwellings including conversions from business to residential use and farming buildings and holiday let conversions to permanent residential dwellings.
  10. New housing developments to follow the High Weald AONB Housing Design Guide (November 2019).

XIII Communication

Goal: Promote an appreciation of the history and appearance of the village within the context of the surrounding countryside.

Action Plans:

  1. To maximise the knowledge of Mayfield and Five Ashes and their heritage.
  2. To promote an appreciation of the physical appearance of the environment, including local wildlife throughout the Parish.
  3. To arrange production and distribution of a Parish/Village ‘Welcome Pack’ for new residents.
  4. To promote communication channels which include regular publications and on line facilities.
  5. To encourage a regular ‘surgery’ to listen and to act upon local issues raised by the public.
  6. To encourage support for the History Society and promote the establishment of a village museum.
  7. To consider the provision of suitable notice boards with pertinent information.

 

Section 3                                                                 

Mayfield and Five Ashes Local Plan See Attachment 1

Section 4                                                                 

Conclusion

This Parish Strategy and Local Plan is an important document in that it sets out the future framework relating to the needs and desires of Mayfield and Five Ashes. Now the plan exists, it gives us a sound base on which to work with local authorities about any future changes they may wish to introduce. To further strengthen this aim, the goals and plans detailed in this document are supported by detailed action plans.

As mentioned in the introduction, we are in a rapidly changing world and the plan that exists today may well not be completely relevant in ten years time. The Development Committee along with the Parish Council undertakes to ensure that the Parish Strategy and Local Plan remains current and as a consequence will ensure that it is reviewed at regular intervals.

Mayfield & Five Ashes Community Development Committee 04 October 2020


Attachment 1

Mayfield and Five Ashes Local Plan                     

SECTION A: MAYFIELD

Contents:

  1. Introduction to Mayfield
  2. Growth and Change
  3. Conservation Area and Development Boundary
  4. Potential Development Areas
  5. The Provision of Homes
  6. Housing
  7. Infrastructure
  8. Village Centre and Economy
  9. Mayfield Primary Shopping Centre

1 Introduction to Mayfield

Mayfield is situated in the north of the Wealden District, to the east of the A267, Tunbridge Wells to Eastbourne Road approximately 9 miles (14.5 km) south of Tunbridge Wells on the north side of the Rother Valley.

Mayfield is an historic linear residential village and one of the larger villages in the district with a population of approx. 2,600 (data from 2011 census). The village is predominately residential in character with a good range of shops and services, which are focused around the High Street. The village has a strong history with the village centre comprising of many attractive late medieval buildings including the Middle House Public House (which dates back to 1575) and St Dunstan’s Church (which dates back to 1389). The village has developed around the former A267, which has now been bypassed.

The village is on a ridge top wholly within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The village has ribbons of development along adjoining ridges, which afford long distance views to and from the village from its landscape setting within the High Weald AONB.

The nearest town is Heathfield, which is located 5 miles (8 km) to the south of Mayfield. Crowborough is located 6.5 miles (10.5 km) to the northwest and Tunbridge Wells 9 miles (14.5 km) to the north. Both Heathfield and Crowborough have good facilities and services with Crowborough having a community hospital, and both also have secondary school provision and leisure facilities.

Accessible railway stations at Wadhurst, Stonegate and Tunbridge Wells are on the Hastings line providing hourly train services to London Charing Cross and Hastings. Crowborough also has a railway station, which is on the Uckfield branch of the Oxted line, which connects to London Bridge. Regular bus transport (every 30 minutes) is available through the centre of the village passing along the A267 to the north and south, joining Eastbourne, Heathfield and Tunbridge Wells.

2. Growth and Change

This plan seeks to maintain Mayfield’s role and function, meeting its housing need, whilst recognizing its environmental constraints. This includes the village’s location within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To meet the spatial objectives of this plan, growth and change in Mayfield may be facilitated through:

  • Land allocated for up to 50 dwellings over the period to 2026 (6 years).

3. Conservation Areas and Development Boundary

The Conservation Area for Mayfield was designated in 2017. The Development Boundary was drawn up as part of the 1998 Local Plan and it is accepted as in need of revision. It is also accepted that at the present time under National Guidance, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), that this boundary does not apply as the Authority (Wealden District Council) cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply. The Development Boundary shown in the 1998 Plan that encompasses the village was drawn in a restrictive manner to protect the rural fringe locations and surrounding open countryside from inappropriate and intrusive development.

It has become apparent in formulating this plan that in order to meet the plan objectives for growth there may be a need to redraw and update the development boundary for the village. Any extension of the boundary should be to the west of the village as will be seen from review of the potential development areas indicated below.

4. Potential Development Areas

In order to comment on the potential development areas the attached map of Mayfield is divided into 6 sectors (See Plan A).

North East Sector

East Street and Coggins Mill Lane border this sector. There are no footpaths on East Street after the junction with Southmead Close. This road is very narrow with many cars parked on verges. Access to the village centre and the Primary School from this area is via Fletching Street. Here there are no footpaths and extensive on road parking makes pedestrian access to the village exceedingly dangerous. Issues of access and the sensitive nature of the countryside to the north of East Street means that development in this area should be restricted.

The ribbon development extending along Coggins Mill Lane consists mainly of larger detached houses leading to the area of Coggins Mill, which is now in the Conservation area. Further development along this road would prejudice the character of the area and is to be resisted.

North Sector

This sector is limited by the presence of the Recreation ground (Court Meadow) and then by the distance from the main centre of the village. This sector also includes Little Trodgers Lane.

There are far reaching views across the AONB from the recreation ground. Development in this area must be avoided.

North West Sector

This sector contains the heart of the Mayfield village with its historic conservation area of heritage buildings, which include the listed buildings of Mayfield School, Archbishops Palace and Historic Church. It also includes the Tunbridge Wells Road. Distant views from the North West of the village must be protected. There is no obvious housing potential in this sector.

West Sector

The A267 bypass and the old railway track border the Conservation area in the West. Beyond this area there is potential for development particularly in the areas adjacent to Stone Cross Road and Fir Toll Road, where pedestrian access to the village is available and well used, together with access to the regular bus service into the village centre and beyond.

The Wellbrook area has 3 cul–de-sacs of Roseland’s Avenue, Rothermead and Berkley Road situated on the south side of the A267. There is a footpath on the south side of the A267 enabling access to the village. This area is occupied either by development or gardens edging the River Rother. Berkley Road leads to a small industrial site located in the countryside with a sewage works beyond it. This area is not suitable for development as it makes a positive contribution to the landscape of the locality and is prone to flooding.

The Wellbrook Hill area on the north side of the A267, opposite the entrance to Berkley Road and to the village side of the River Rother, has potential for development but only if the traffic issues on this busy main road are fully considered.

On the main A267 beyond Wellbrook and to the west of the River Rother there is a ribbon development of larger houses located on the south side of the main road, with open farmland to the north of the road. There is a limited footpath, for a short period after Berkley Road on the south side of the main A267 but nothing on the north side. Development on this stretch of the A267, which is more isolated and remote from the village centre, would not be appropriate.

South and South West Sectors

These sectors are characterized by their distant views of the historic village centre. Mayfield is an ancient ridge village set in the AONB. Any development to the south of the ridge would be detrimental to the historic village and be at a significant cost to the AONB. Development would be out of keeping with the high quality landscape. The Wealden 2017 Site Landscape Assessment has classified any sites in this sector as having high landscape sensitivity and high landscape value. The South sector includes The Warren and the lower end of Vale Road. The South West sector includes South Street and Vale Road. Development in these sectors south of the ridge should be resisted at allcost.

5.   The Provision of Homes

Mayfield is a sustainable settlement and is classified as a “Local Service Centre” in the settlement hierarchy set out in the Core Strategy Local Plan adopted in 2013. However, due to it being located fully in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the National Policy requirement (NPPF) to protect the most valued landscapes, it is constrained to deliver large amounts of growth. Land can however be allocated to accommodate residential growth which is close to the existing village and on sites considered to be least sensitive and that would have minimal impact on the delivery of the High Weald AONB Management Plan objectives.

Analysis of the potential areas indicated above in this document and consideration of the sites submitted in the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHEELA) undertaken by Wealden has led to the following provision:-

Up to 50 dwellings that could be built in the next 6 years, preferably in small developments of 1- 6 houses in areas close to the A267 where pedestrian and cycle access is available.

In making this provision it is a requirement that “major” developments in the very sensitive historic environment of Mayfield, which is fully within the AONB, are excluded, other than in exceptional circumstances, and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest. This requirement is made under National Policy guidance (NPPF paragraph 172). In the context of Mayfield it is considered that any development of 20 or more houses would be considered a major development.

6.   Housing

 The 2011 census revealed that Mayfield has a larger proportion of detached dwellings (52.4%) than semi-detached dwellings (20.8%), which reflects the similar trend for the District Average (44.5% and 30% respectively). The proportion of terraced housing (12.5%) is very similar to the district average (12.7%) whereas the proportion of flats and self-contained units (14.2%) is greater than the District average (11.5%).

Mayfield has a significantly higher proportion of households with 5+ bedrooms (15.2%) than the district average of (8.4%) as well as a slightly higher proportion of households with 4 bedrooms (23.3%) than the average (20.2%). Whereas the proportion of 2 bedroomed (20.8%) and 3 bedroomed (31.9%) households in Mayfield are lower than the average for Wealden (28.2% and 35.4% respectively). These statistics show there is a greater amount of larger, detached properties in Mayfield than smaller households.

There is a need to readdress and balance the type of housing stock in Mayfield to provide a balanced mix of housing. A mix of one, two and three bedroomed units should be the focus of new housing provision in Mayfield. The provision of smaller houses would meet the identified needs of both those younger people wanting to enter or progress in the housing market and older people needing to trade down to smaller units from large properties in the village.

7.   Infrastructure

Mayfield has a good provision of services and facilities including a pre-school, a primary school, medical facilities (GP, Dentist and Pharmacy), community facilities (Memorial Hall, Scout Hall and London House), open space and recreation facilities.

Secondary age children are within the catchment of both Uplands Community College in Wadhurst and Heathfield Community College, so may attend either. In addition there is a range of independent schools available locally and in the wider area.

The High Weald Lewes and Havens Clinical Commissioning Group are currently supporting funding applications for the development of potential new premises for Woodhill Surgery in Mayfield.

The open space, sports and recreation assessment for Wealden has identified a need for additional facilities in Wealden including amenity greenspace and children’s play space. In considering current deficiencies open space, sports and recreational facilities are to be protected. In the case of Mayfield the sports and recreational land, which would include the cricket club land, are given specific protection under National Policy guidance (NPPF paragraph 97).

Wealden has indicated that information relating to improvement of the green network in and around Mayfield is contained in a Green Infrastructure Study. This document forms the evidence that will assist the production of a District wide Green Infrastructure Strategy and Supplementary Planning Document.

8.   Village Centre and Economy

Mayfield benefits from a large number of shops and other commercial properties in High Street, many providing employment for local residents. There are two pubs, the Middle House in the High Street and the Rose and Crown in Fletching Street.

The village also has a large independent Catholic Girls school (Mayfield School), which offers both day and boarding options, situated just off the Tunbridge Wells Road, to the north of the village centre. The school is a major employment provider within the village. There is also a pre- school and primary school, both situated just off the High Street on the north side of the Tunbridge Wells Road, which provide employment opportunities.

9.   Mayfield Primary Shopping Area

The Primary Shopping Area at Mayfield is centred on the High Street and particularly the linear run of shops between West Street and Fletching Street. Residential uses puncture the run of retail units.

In recent years several of the retail shops, including the last remaining bank, have been converted to residential use.

The vision of the Parish Council is to protect the further loss of retail and important community uses from the High Street, whilst supporting new retail uses and associated complimentary uses.


SECTION B: FIVE ASHES

Contents:

  1. Introduction to Five Ashes
  2. Growth and Change
  3. Conservation Area and Development Boundary
  4. Potential Development Areas
  5. The Provision of Homes
  6. Infrastructure
  7. Five Ashes Commercial

1 Introduction to Five Ashes

The village has developed in a linear form on the A267, along the crest of a ridge within the steeply undulating and wooded countryside of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB). There are extensive views from the eastern side of the village, in particular across the village hall and playing grounds site, over the countryside.

Five Ashes, with a population of about 500, is essentially residential in character though amenities include a village hall, primary school and Five Ashes Inn public house. In the centre of the village is a newly opened Cottage Hospice. In the north is an independent preparatory school set into the slopes of the ridge, facing north.

The village comprises several distinct character areas with two estate developments in the north and to the south. To the south the pattern of development is more loosely knit and scattered, which contributes to the essentially rural character of this part of the village.

There is an older historic core around the village green, which is fully noted by it inclusion in the Conservation Area that was designated in April 2017.

The closest town is Heathfield 4 miles (6.4 km) to the south.

Accessible railway stations at Wadhurst, Stonegate and Tunbridge Wells are on the Hastings line providing hourly train services to London Charing Cross and Hastings. Crowborough and Buxted also have railway stations on the Uckfield branch of the Oxted line, which connects to London Bridge. Regular bus transport (every 30 minutes) is available through the centre of the village passing along the A267 to the north and south, joining Eastbourne, Heathfield and Tunbridge Wells.

2. Growth and Change

This plan seeks to maintain Five Ashes role and function, meeting its housing need, whilst recognising its environmental constraints. This includes the village’s location within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural beauty.

3.  Conservation Areas and Development Boundary

The Conservation Area for Five Ashes was designated in 2017. The Development Boundary was drawn up as part of the 1998 Local Plan and it is accepted as in need of revision. It is also accepted that at the present time under National Guidance, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), that this boundary does not apply as the authority (Wealden District Council) cannot demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply. The Development Boundary shown in the 1998 Plan that encompasses the village was drawn in a restrictive manner to protect the rural fringe locations and surrounding open countryside from inappropriate and intrusive development.

4.   Potential Development Areas

The prominent ridge-top setting of Five Ashes and its location in the AONB imposes a clear constraint to further growth and new development. There are no obvious potential development areas.

5.  The Provision of Homes

Land can however be allocated to accommodate residential growth which is close to the existing village and on sites to be least sensitive and that would have minimal impact on the delivery of the High Weald AONB Management Plan objectives.

6.   Infrastructure

Five Ashes has a primary school, community facilities (village hall funded independently), open space and recreation facilities.

Secondary age children are within the catchment of both Uplands Community College in Wadhurst and Heathfield Community College, so may attend either. In addition there is a range of independent schools available locally and in the wider area.

7.   Five Ashes Commercial

Whilst there is no longer a shopping area in Five Ashes there is a Ceramics and Furniture design workshop at Almond Barn, a Porsche Showroom and a number of other home based businesses in and around the village.

There is a pub, the Five Ashes Inn, a large independent prep school (Skippers Hill), a primary school and the Cottage Hospice all of which provide employment opportunities.

The vision of the Parish council is to protect the further loss of retail and important community uses from the area, whilst supporting new retail uses and associated complimentary uses.

Mayfield and Five Ashes Local Plan v3.4 Adopted 12 October 2020

Plan A

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