Ask the Leader

The leader of Wealden District Council is Councillor Ann Newton. She 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 Newton is the Conservative leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and has represented Framfield & Cross-in-Hand since 2007.

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

Council Tax rebate

18 May 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, Could you please advise why your council is taking so long in processing the Council Tax rebates that the Government announced in February? Other comparably sized councils (such as Eastbourne) are well on their way to completing the rebates, when your council has not even started them?  

Answer: Dear Lee Hurst, Thank you for your question. Before processing we have followed the guidance which suggests allowing DD’s for April to clear before using those details to pay the rebate, we have and are currently working through the other verifications for these. The application process will commence in June for those that we cannot...

Council Tax reduction due to industrial action

18 May 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, The bin collection people are on strike, I know. You as a council have contracted Biffa to empty our bins once a week which we pay for in our Council Tax. And you have paid them to do so. Are you going to get a refund from them and if not why...

Answer: Dear Mr Tree, Thank you for your question. The industrial action taken by the GMB union is disappointing to say the least especially as the pay offer was accepted by Biffa, our contractor, for the Hastings and Rother depots. We have a joint contract with those authorities. With regards to Council Tax, only 9% of...

Trees felled at development site

17 May 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, There is a new development by ‘Inspire Villages’ in Ben Hall Mill Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5JW, which comes under Wealden District Council. Can you please explain how the developers are allowed to cut down hundreds of mature trees and clear completely a woodland site and wildlife habitat. At a time when...

Answer: Dear Mr Fairbrass Thank you for your question. Not surprisingly, I am aware of this development as it is in the ward I represent. On many developments there are requirements to remove some trees to enable construction, but these are kept to a minimum. I have been assured the trees removed are those identified when planning...

Switching gas and electricity

10 May 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley. Is Wealden planning to ask energy companies to submit prices for gas and electricity as the present one runs out in May?

Answer: Dear Margaret Lindsell, Thank you for your question. I understand this question relates to the big switch. We are not actively promoting the big switch because it will pay to do nothing for most people at this moment in time. That said, residents can still sign up for the switch by clicking on the link...

WDC Residents’ Survey

25 April 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, An announcement in a recent My Alerts email claimed, following a survey that the council received very positive feedback in relation to the quality of the services it is providing. As local friends and neighbours had no knowledge of this survey, I conducted my own. Thirty six Wealden residents confirmed they had...

Answer: Dear Mr Collins Thank you for your question. The Wealden Residents’ Survey is conducted every two years using telephone interviews. Respondents are selected using random digit dialling and commercially available mobile telephone numbers so this is not a self-selecting survey. A random sample of 1,000 Wealden residents complete the survey and a quota control is...

Dog fouling and waste bins

11 April 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, Please could you investigate why the public waste bins and dog fouling bins are not being serviced on a regular basis. Despite over a dozen reports by myself and many other residents including photos this situation continues. Alderbrook, Chapel Green and Poundfield footpath seem to be a particular problem with bins left...

Answer: Dear Shirley Matthews, We as the council are very sorry that some of our litter and dog waste bins have not been emptied as often as normal recently. This is a result of staff shortages within our waste contractor. We would assure residents we have been working closely with them to resolve this matter and...

Energy efficiency standards in house building

29 March 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, In the forthcoming Local Plan, will the council use the power it has under section 1 of the Planning & Energy Act 2008 to (1) require all development in Wealden to comply with energy efficiency standards that exceed the standards imposed by the Building Regulations, and (2) require a proportion of energy...

Answer: Dear Mr Tysh, The council is considering these measures. Draft policy wording includes both matters. This will be subject of formal consultation in due course and ultimately will be for the inspector at the Local Plan examination in public.

Assistance for Ukranian refugees

25 March 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, 1]Can you please let me know what steps are being put in place by Wealden District Council to assist and support households who are planning to sponsor a Ukrainian refugees? 2] Which department/s will be co-ordinating the councils response? 3] Who will be the named contacts ?

Answer: Dear Mr Eversen, Thank you for your question. East Sussex County Council is leading on Homes for Ukraine in East Sussex. Please see the latest information on our website at

Assistance for Ukranian refugees arriving in Wealden

25 March 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, My wife and I have registered for the government scheme to take in Ukrainian refugees. We have no direct contact with anybody in Ukraine and do not therefore have anybody to sponsor. We understand the process is being delegated to local councils. Please could you let us know who at the local...

Answer: Dear Chris Rusling, Thank you for your question. East Sussex County Council is leading on Homes for Ukraine in East Sussex. Please see the latest information on our website at

Rubbish at recycling facility

23 March 2022

Question: Dear Councillor Standley, I travel the road from Hailsham through to the border with Rother via Ninfield. I can’t help but notice the disgusting state of the road edges and before you reply with it’s because of recent storms it’s not. What do you actually pay these people to do ? Wealden really has gone...

Answer: Dear Mr Manser Thank you for your e-mail direct to me following your Ask the Leader question in February. Apologies for the delay in replying which is partly due to me having eye surgery which has delayed replies. The debris at the side of the roads has been exacerbated by the storms and the contractors...