Asset of Community Value in Heathfield Application Granted !

5th October - Wealden District Council advised us that our ACV Application has been granted !

An Asset of Community Value (ACV) is a building or place which has special value to residents by providing sport, culture, or recreational uses...or increases the wellbeing of the community now and into the future. 

'The Top of the World' is now listed on the register held by Wealden District Council of  Assets of Community Value - and it will remain there for up to 5 years. 

The Landowner now has 8 weeks to appeal the decision if he wishes. 

Please scroll down to the end to see the documents available for download. 

What Happens Now ?

During the 5 year period - should the landowner wish to enter into a relevant disposal of the land then Wealden District Council makes this known to the public and invites any Community Interest Group to indicate in writing that it wishes to be treated as a potential bidder.

In principle this is the stage at which we would contact Heathfield Residents and invite them to a Public Meeting.

However we are keen to maintain the high level of local interest and so we will be looking to hold a Public Meeting as soon as possible. 

From the tremendous response so far we believe that there will be a good level of interest  in forming a Heathfield wide Community Interest Group. It will be that Heathfield wide group which will drive the work to mount bid for 'The Top of the World' field at Vines Corner. 

What are the Risks ?

Recently,  a representative from Parker Dann (the landowner's agent) informed Heathfield & Waldron Parish Council planning committee that the landowner does not have to accept a bid from a Heathfield Community Interest Group and he can sell to whom he chooses.   

We have made it clear in all our communications that we are fully aware of the policy around the bid from the start.   

We know there are no certainties or guarantees.... BUT we believe that Heathfield Residents deserve the RIGHT TO BID in the event that the landowner wishes to sell the field. 

Local feelings are very strong about the Top of the World and this is evident from the letters, emails and comments in the petition.  

The Value of this Landscape

Rare Surviving Landscape

StopVinesCorner in Heathfield commissioned 'Landvision' landscape architects from Wadhurst to produce a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment for the Vines Corner fields. Their findings are fully endorsed in the Landscape Assessment of Heathfield commissioned by Wealden District Council from the respected Chris Blandford Associates - which states that:  

'The Top of the World' field has: 'Low Landscape Capacity for accommodating development'  because, ‘This area is situated within the High Weald AONB, resulting in High Landscape Value'. 

'In addition, key, panoramic long distance views northwards across the High Weald contribute to High Landscape Sensitivity'... 'and has a strong sense of tranquillity'. 

The beauty and rarity of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is why we applied for The Top of The World field to be registered as an Asset of Community Value in Heathfield and we passionately believe that Residents should be given the Right To Bid in Heathfield.


Ancient Woodland & Historic Hedgerows

The Landscape Assessment  mentions the close proximity of Ancient Woodland of Marklye Wood.

'The trees and hedgerows within and around the Site contribute to green infrastructure by providing existing well-connected vegetation which enables species movements through and beyond the Site to key landscape features such as the Ancient Woodland to the north-west, whilst reinforcing historic landscape character.'

'The field boundaries..... are historic and contribute to the unique ancient field patterns characteristic of the High Weald'.

This aerial view of the Top of the World clearly shows the timeworn paths and trails leading from Marklye Wood around and across the field and out into Marklye Lane.

Marklye Lane

The Landscape Assessment mentions Marklye Lane: 'This is a known historic routeway which contributes to both the character of the local area and the wider High Weald AONB'. 

It is an ancient sunken lane single track which is a rare surviving landscape feature ... following the contours of the land and with banks of 3 metres high and topped with mature trees and historic hedgerows. 

Along its length is the scattered rural community of 'driftway' farms  - all of which contribute to the attraction and charm of the area which has  tranquillity and a sense of remoteness.