CPRE Sussex urges withdrawal of draft Mid Sussex Review Plan
Housing and site allocation policies need reconsideration
Since the district Plan Review consultation opened, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has issued a Ministerial Statement (6 December 2022) that there will be some relaxations to the inflexible rules that dictate how an authority’s housing needs are to be determined. CPRE has been working closely with Parliamentarians to secure these relaxations.
CPRE Sussex shares the view expressed in the Mid Sussex Council leader’s letter to Mr Gove (22 February 2022) that the standard method which the Council is required to use in calculating the District’s housing need significantly exaggerates the housing shortfall through Sussex, and significantly over-estimates Mid Sussex’s own new housing requirement.
CPRE Sussex also agrees with the Council leader’s statement in that letter that there are insufficient sustainable sites within the District to deliver the arbitrarily exaggerated level of housing expected by that standard method.
While details of the relaxations to the standard method are not yet clarified, Mid Sussex District Council should to be able to take advantage of them. It is a rural district with very substantial constraints on its ability to deliver large scale development sites in sustainable locations. The current arbitrary standard methodology rules operate to dump far too much housing in this pressured part of the country at the expense of other areas where regeneration is much needed.
As it stands, the draft Plan Review, in seeking to follow the standard rules, proposes an impossible housing burden on the District, and seeks to solve their location problem by offering up far, far too much of our countryside on sites that don’t pass the sustainability test.
In these circumstances, CPRE Sussex urges following the logic of the Council leaders’ February letter to Mr Gove by now withdrawing the draft Review Plan for reconsideration of its proposed housing and site allocation policies in the light of the Ministerial Statement.