Anger over Mid Sussex plan

Council leaders claim they have been “unfairly treated” after a key development blueprint was shelved.

Mid Sussex District Council’s District Plan is designed to guide development in the area until 2031 and will be the main document used when considering planning applications.

To encourage growth, the local authority had pledged to find space for about 10,600 homes – more than the 8,200 needed to meet demand.

But, with coastal local authorities such as Brighton and Hove and Adur struggling to find space for all its needs, government inspector David Hogger questioned how much Mid Sussex had co-operated with neighbouring councils.

Mr Hogger has now delayed the plan until council chiefs can prove they have worked with those around it.

But campaigners claim it will leave the district open to development as there are no up-to-date restrictions in place to those looking to build.

Michael Brown, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Sussex), said: “This is a sad day for the people of Mid Sussex.

“It paralyses the district planning process for another year or more and it is a further nail in the already well- studded coffin of local democracy.”

The Mid Sussex District Plan, the first created under the new “localism” agenda, was discussed in public by interested parties last month.

In announcing the delay, Mr Hogger said this does not mean that Mid Sussex should be expected to accommodate additional growth but it needed to give “detailed and rigorous” consideration to other local authorities.
 

Among them is Brighton and Hove City Council which claims it only has enough space for about 11,300 homes over the next two decades – up to 8,000 less than demand suggests is needed.

Ian Credland, who is campaigning to save Ham Fields between Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks, said: “It is outrageous.

“Localism is a dirty word and is utterly meaningless to the man in the street as his views seem to count for nothing.”

Gary Marsh, the council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “I feel we have been unfairly treated and it would seem that the expectations about what is required by councils under Duty to Cooperate have changed in recent months and we will be making that point to the Inspector.”

A spokesman added the council will carefully consider the inspector’s comments and will do whatever is required to secure a successful local plan as quickly as possible.

 

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