POLITICIANS have condemned a “rushed decision” to approve 500 new homes, claiming the development will change a village for ever.

Sue Hatton, Liberal Democrat councillor for Hassocks, was the only member at a Mid Sussex District Council meeting to vote against a revised district plan that allocates the houses to the north east of Hassocks, near Ockley Lane.

Liberal Democrat councillors in Mid Sussex say the council has failed three times to demonstrate a five-year land supply to the planning inspector and has now decided Hassocks should make up the housing shortfall.

Councillor Hatton, who is also a parish councillor, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that the people of Hassocks have been denied a neighbourhood plan that contained a sustainable future for the village.

“The imposition of this strategic site of 500 homes will change Hassocks for ever.”

When combined with other new houses planned for Hassocks, the village could have some 900 homes built before 2031 – most of which will come in the first five years.

If plans for the development go ahead, housing in the village is set to grow by more than 25 per cent.

As well as narrowing the gap between Hassocks and Burgess Hill, there are serious concerns about the impact the size of the development would have on local infrastructure and already stretched public services.

The councillors are condemning the plans on the grounds that schools in the village have already expanded their capacity to meet existing demand and patient-to-GP ratios are higher than the average for the area.

They also wish to see more thought put into the plans, saying Hassocks already struggles with traffic congestion and parking issues.

Kirsty Lord, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Hassocks and Burgess Hill South, said: “There is plenty of room to take 500 extra homes in Mid Sussex.

“Hassocks should be part of the solution but it should not suffer from a rushed decision that places the entire burden of the district’s housing shortfall on one village.”

Hassocks’ other two district councillors, Conservatives Michelle Binks and Gordon Marples, voted in favour of the plans.

The next stage of the development is be a public consultation which runs until November 10.