MP: Government is undermining its own policy of neighbourhood planning
Responding to the decision by the Secretary of State on Thursday (16 March) to allow up to 97 houses at Hassocks, in contravention of the village’s emerging neighbourhood plan, Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert said:
“I am dismayed by the Government’s decision, which actually admits that it will erode local confidence in neighbourhood planning, and I simply cannot reconcile it with what I was told in December when Ministers agreed to give more protection to neighbourhood plans.
“While the Government rightly wants to see more housing, they are now undermining the very policy of neighbourhood planning which they championed and which has delivered more homes than expected.
“Until the Government decides to protect neighbourhood plans properly, communities will see little point in going ahead with them. Ministers had better decide whether they want neighbourhood planning or not.
“The Government cannot go on encouraging volunteers in local communities to invest time and money in neighbourhood plans, going to all the trouble of holding a local referendum, if their plans are then torn up in front of their eyes."
1. The Secretary of State’s decision TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 78 APPEAL MADE BY GLEESON DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED - LAND PARCEL AT LONDON ROAD, HASSOCKS, WEST SUSSEX APPLICATION - REF: 13/03818/OUT – Link: here
2. Paragraph 33 of the Secretary of State’s decision says: "While he accepts that a decision that is seen not to accord with the emerging HNP could lead to an erosion of local confidence in neighbourhood planning, which would be a harmful outcome having regard to the importance placed on this in national policy, given his conclusions that the proposal amounts to sustainable development, the Secretary of State concludes that this warrants a decision other than in accordance with the development plan.”
3. Nick Herbert's news release of 14 December (MP wins protection for neighbourhood plans): here