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The Countryside Charity, CPRE Sussex, says Local MPs and People Power played a significant role in the government’s decision to back down over a housing algorithm which calculated that Sussex must build the equivalent of a new Crawley every four years.

The Charity has praised local people for writing hundreds of letters to protest about the new planning changes and says the county’s MP’s have done Sussex proud:

“Sussex MPs such as Andrew Griffith have been very active in highlighting the devastating effect of the ‘mutant algorithm’ on the communities and natural environment of Sussex and this hard work is paying off,” says CPRE Sussex Director, Kia Trainor.

“We want a system that will deliver the affordable housing and successful places that people need, not one which will undermine local plans and local people and force the loss of green spaces which have been so important for our health and wellbeing this year.”

The controversial algorithm was widely criticised for its bias towards building most new homes in rural areas in the South-east. Under the changes, Sussex would have lost an estimated 450 hectares of countryside every year.

Arundel and South Downs MP, Andrew Griffith described the calculations as “mutant” and “entirely blind to geography.”

The government is now said to be overhauling the controversial changes to rebalance the system and prioritise urban areas.

CPRE Sussex’s John Kay is hoping the new calculations will include “a genuine capacity assessment” and will “prioritise brownfield over greenfield”. But he says the county can’t afford to be complacent:

“Now is the time for another push, we need to write again to all our MPs, including the ones who sent us back just a formal response last time”.

Issued 18 November 2020