Skip to navigation

Mid Sussex Update – Winter 2017

Thursday, 16 November 2017 18:18

The principal focus of our work in Mid Sussex has continued to relate to the new draft District Plan, the details of which we reported in our July update and by letter to all CPRE members living in Mid Sussex.  It is a draft Plan which intends to require new homes to be built at a rate of 876 dwellings p.a., a rate which the District has never consistently achieved before, and it is set to rise still further (to 1,090 dpa) from 2024.   The challenge of finding sustainable locations for this massive hike in new building without ruining the prized rural character of Mid Sussex is going to be a formidable one.  It will put huge pressure on the District Council (MSDC) to give proper weight to the environmental and countryside protections that planning rules purport to offer when assessing site allocations and planning applications.  The role of CPRE has never been more important.

MSDC published a large number of modifications to its draft District Plan in response to recommendations from the Planning Inspectorate made during the course of the Plan’s examination.  Amongst the modifications proposed is the allocation of a new site for 500 homes in Hassocks, a part of the District that has already borne a heavy burden of new development schemes and precious little infrastructure enhancement.  Also published was MSDC’s assessment of the Plan’s impact on Ashdown Forest as required by the Habitats Regulations, which exist to protect specially designated sites (including Ashdown Forest) from new development that could significantly harm those sites.
We have commented in detail to MSDC on those modifications and on the wholly inadequate evidence base for their Habitats Regulations assessment, which (in our view) demonstrates that development growth proposed in the Plan would be incompatible with the avoidance of harm to Ashdown Forest – an area where, for example, traffic-caused nitrogen pollution already well exceeds damaging levels.  A copy of our submission is attached below. The ball is back in MSDC’s court to press on with its Plan or do what it is supposed to do and amend the Plan to comply with the Regulations.
There are a significant number of planning applications around the District where the refusal of permission by MSDC over the last couple of years was appealed, with the appeals being called in by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government and which have since stalled.  Decisions are promised before Christmas.  We will watch for the outcomes.
We are also keeping a eye on a threat to undertake massive earthworks and dumping on Cuckfield Golf Course – within the High Weald AONB.  Over 550,000 tonnes of supposedly inert material would be delivered at a rate of 130 lorry loads per day over a 14 month period.  The golf course would of course need planning permission for all this activity. You can bet that CPRE will be there when that application is made, making crystal clear our opposition to such a hugely disruptive and harmful development within the High Weald.
CPRE nationally and locally is launching a major campaign to improve the protection from development that Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty receive in the planning process.  Development within an AONB is all too often seen as an easy way out for Councils which are struggling to meet their housing targets – MSDC itself is guilty on this charge of having approved a 600 home development within the High Weald AONB at Pease Pottage.  This latest waste dumping threat is just the most recent to highlight just how vulnerable our AONBs are.

join us

Back to top