Hurstpierpoint Parish Council submitted a neighbourhood plan to the council earlier this year to form the cornerstone for development in our village, despite having received only 400 comments from its 7,000 strong population - and many comments objected to the proposals for new housing and a business park on our green fields.
I’ve been looking into the neighbourhood plan process and you can see on the parish’s website that even Mid Sussex District Council objected as part of this consultation.
I have grave concerns about the lack of democracy. Are we as a community too late to have our say?
Any inspector worth his salt should send this plan back to the drawing board. Housing numbers have not yet been ratified by the district, so how have the parish come up with specific housing numbers?
How can a neighbourhood plan, which must adhere to the district-wide plan, be approved before a district-wide plan is agreed?
We must plan correctly for our future and provide the right housing – not too much, and not inadequate.
The Neighbourhood Plan also includes a site for new houses which was refused by the planners due to concerns about suitability and it was a site strongly objected to by fellow parishioners so why is it still in a plan supposed to represent villagers’ views?
The Neighbourhood Plan can only be accepted if more than half of the votes from our community are in favour at a referendum. It should not succeed in its current format because it does not plan for the future of Hurstpierpoint.
I know we need to provide new homes for our children, but they need to be in sustainable locations, accompanied by the infrastructure our village needs in locations which will retain our village character.
Let’s hope the inspector listens to objectors as the parish council certainly hasn't.
Mr J Brown