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.
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Councillor Standley is the Conservative Leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and has represented Wadhurst since 2004.
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Dear Councillor Bob Standley,
I have a further question regarding empty property, this time concerning under-occupation of homes. According to reports I have read, the English Housing Survey estimates that there are around 25 million empty bedrooms in England and that 37% of houses are under-occupied (two or more bedrooms un-used). Statistically, I calculate from these figures that that in Wealden District there should be around 67,000 empty bedrooms and 23,000 under-occupied homes.
“Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle”. This is WDC’s excellent slogan concerning waste and refuse but it seems to me that it should equally apply to new housing. Considering the need for more housing, the council’s prime objective of sustainable development, and the environmental destruction caused by development on greenfield sites, what is the council doing to encourage new homes to be made from our huge resource of un-used existing property.
Paul Lovatt Smith
Dear Mr Lovatt Smith
Thank you for your email re empty rooms. As far as the Council-owned properties are concerned, we encourage residents whose properties have more bedrooms than they need to move to smaller accommodation. There is no compulsion but assistance is given with regard to moving costs and the new property being smaller is normally cheaper to rent.
As you probably know the Government also introduced the Empty Rooms Policy whereby housing benefit is reduced if the recipient has more rooms than they require. This policy, not without some controversial elements, does encourage residents to have the correct size property for their needs. The changes do not include any cost for those over pensionable age but for those of “working age” then number of households affected by the changes have been 170 in our Council-owned properties totalling 3000 and a further 151 in a similar number, 3000 which are owned by Registered Social Landlords within Wealden. This suggests the number of empty rooms in Wealden may be less than your own estimate.
With regard to private owner-occupied property then this is a matter for the property owner(s) who can decide if the live in a home with more bedrooms than they need and pay the extra running costs accordingly.
The Council does encourage empty properties to be occupied and empty properties pay full Council Tax after 1 month (exceptions such as empty following bereavement) and after 2 years there is a 50% Council Tax surcharge on empty properties.
Clewett Community Dividend for Polegate Due 24 February
Dear Cllr Standley,
How much will the three Polegate district councillors receive each from the Kier windfall? Oi Lin Shing, Daniel Shing and Don Broadbent?
Michael Clewett (Polegate councillor)
Dear Mr Clewett,
The funds from the Kier payment allocated to the three Polegate Councillors are
Oil Lin Shing £1,436.50;
Daniel Shing £1,436.00;
Don Broadbent £1,436.50
The Councillors have to consult with the Town Council on the project(s) they wish to fund although the final decision is their own to make. The criteria on how the money can be spent can be viewed online in the Cabinet report in January
I trust you agree that the funding from Kier is a good result for Wealden residents.