Press Release – 04/03/2017 - Wrong to blame the Planning Inspector for an unacceptable Mid Sussex District Plan
The Labour Party is dismayed at the way Mid Sussex District Council is handling the District Plan. It's clear that the Conservative run District Council has disastrously failed to get the plan approved, for a second time.
This contrasts with the vast majority of other authorities who agreed plans some years ago and have been able to use them to ensure that development takes place where it is acceptable to local communities.
Rather than look to its own failings the Council and local MPs are blaming the Planning Inspector. They were clearly told why the previously proposed Plan was unacceptable, yet have failed to address the inadequacies by still not properly consulting neighbouring authorities such as Brighton and Crawley and by failing to use sufficient relevant data on housing needs in the District.
The concept of Neighbourhood and District Plans, as part of the so called “ Localism agenda” was introduced by the Conservative led Coalition Government so the Council are failing to comply with their own planning process.
Although there will be two further meetings with the Inspector he has confirmed that the number of houses he requires, (1026 per year to 2031) to make the plan acceptable will not be changed.
The inevitable consequence of this is that the Neighbourhood Plans which identified areas where housing is needed and would be acceptable to communities are now useless.
Without an accepted District plan we cannot prevent housing developers from building virtually wherever they want.
We have already seen the Plans completely ignored in recent planning decisions in Hurstpierpoint, Hassocks, Burgess Hill, Lindfield and Haywards Heath and this can only get worse.
Pam Haigh Chair of Mid Sussex Labour Party said:
"For 10 years now we have made clear how important it was for the District Council to set a land supply figure and get an approved District plan. Warnings by former councillor Richard Goddard and Parliamentary Candidate Greg Mountain that the Council is failing to serve residents properly on planning have been ignored, resulting in what even the Council agrees is a disastrous outcome. The only resolution is for the council to immediately set Land Supply figure and meet the Inspectors concerns in an agreed timescale."
Pam called for those Councillors responsible, including all of the Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet to accept their failure and resign as Councillors immediately,
"This debacle has gone on for a decade and will impact on Mid Sussex people for many more years to come. It's obvious they can't meet their responsibilities, we are all badly let down, it's time for change, those responsible must go now."
Great coverage in the Mid Sussex Times