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Ask the Leader

The Leader of Wealden District Council is Councillor Bob Standley. He will be pleased to answer any question you may have about Wealden District Council's policies, or other matters involving the Council, which you think are of interest to people living, working or visiting Wealden.

To ask your question, please use our or Ask the Leader - Submit a Question Form

Councillor Standley is the Conservative Leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and has represented Wadhurst since 2004.

Specific inquiries about particular services such as planning applications, licensing or accommodation can be reported online. Please use our 'directory of tasks on online services' to find the appropriate form. You can also email

We will try to respond within ten working days of receiving your question and your question and the Leader's reply will then be posted on the website. Please provide your name, we don't need your address. If we think the question is inappropriate for publication we will contact you by email to say why.

For information on any of the Ask The Leader questions listed please contact our Communications Officer on

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The latest Ask the Leader questions and answers are shown below. To view more questions and answers, use the search above, or the 'In this Section' menu.

Cycling in Ashdown Forest


Dear Mr Stanley

I have lived in the area for nearly 6 years now and as a keen cyclist, walker and naturalist I certainly enjoy the rural parts of our location. I am however sad that I am not allowed to ride my mountain bike on any parts of the Ashdown forest.
Many other similar areas across the UK have dedicated cycle trails that generate revenue directly, through parking payments and indirectly to local pubs and shops.  There is also the option of a permit system where people pay and are shown how to behave in regards to other users, the environment and how to avoid erosion etc which I presume is one of the major issues here.

In this day and age of childhood obesity and adult health issues it seems awful we cannot use this stunning area to ride, get fit and enjoy. My wife has lived in and around Newick all her life and has owned and ridden horses all over the forest. They churn up the ground far more than a limited number of bikes would and dedicated trails would prevent any damage or issues with walkers. I walk my dog on the forest so I feel I am able to look at things from both sides. Nobody wants bikes flying past at 40 mph but that being said, in the right areas I would love to see more people enjoying the wonderful space we are blessed with.  Could you perhaps let me know if this has been mentioned to you before and if there is any scope for it becoming a discussion?

I can’t help feel cyclists are at the wrong end of a stigma here that allows people with horses to do as they wish and the humble cyclist to do nothing at all.

Kind Regards

Ade Holder


Dear Mr Holder,

The responsibility for Ashdown Forest lies with the Conservators of Ashdown Forest, not Wealden District Council, and they have taken the view that off-road biking is incompatible with maintaining the Forest as a quiet and natural area. They are supported in this by local residents, horse riders, bird watchers and walkers.
The question was raised at a meeting of the Parish Liaison Panel of the Board of Conservators in 2014. You can find the minutes here:

I agree with you about the importance of encouraging people to exercise and seek outdoor recreation and there are a number of public bridleways and cycle trails in Wealden including the Forest Way cycle route linking East Grinstead to Groombridge, as well as many quiet roads across the District which provide for a challenging cycle ride.

We are currently looking to shape the open space, sport and recreation provision across the District as part of our Local Plan and we are interested in your views on the subject. You can help us by taking part in a short survey. Further information can be found here  The survey closes of 3 July.


 Bob Standley

Waiting time for replacement garden waste bins


Replacement green waste bins taking up to 6 weeks. Mine was damaged by Kier's employees when loading on truck on 12/5 due to insufficiently placed on lever. I now have a store of grass awaiting disposal. Totally unacceptable. Please investigate. David Lawrence


Dear Mr Lawrence, I am sorry to learn you are having to wait for your replacement garden waste bin. There was backlog in sourcing replacement bins from the manufacturer which has now been rectified, but there are still logistical difficulties being experienced by Kier who deliver the replacement bins. This is being sorted on an area basis and I hope it won’t be long before you receive your replacement. If you have room in your garden for a composter, I can recommend them as an environmentally efficient way to dispose of grass cuttings, which can then be added back to your garden as nutritional compost. A range of composters at reduced prices can be purchased from the East Sussex County Council website, regards Bob Standley

For information on any of the Ask The Leader questions listed please contact our Communications Officer on