MP “extremely disappointed” by Inspector’s report on Hassocks
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has expressed his “extreme disappointment” over the decision of the Planning Inspector to endorse proposals for a development of 500 houses in Hassocks when signing off on Mid Sussex’s District Plan.
The proposal for 500 homes North of Clayton Mills, Hassocks, was suddenly put forward by Mid Sussex District Council as a Main Modification to the District Plan following Planning Inspector Jonathan Bore’s comment, in his interim report last year, that Mid Sussex’s 5.2-year land supply was not “hugely comfortable”.
Mr Herbert strongly objected to the proposal, arguing that the allocation was unnecessary, and that the local community should decide on the location of new housing though their neighbourhood plan. He raised his concerns with Ministers and Mid Sussex District Council, following which the Inspector announced a special hearing on the proposal in January at which the MP joined local people in repeating his opposition.
However, in his final Report published on 12 March, Mr Bore now states that the strategic allocations, including at Hassocks, “are critical to the achievement of the Plan’s objectives”, despite recent decisions by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, to approve applications totalling 564 homes elsewhere in the District.
Mr Herbert said: “I am extremely disappointed by the Inspector’s decision in relation to Hassocks. It cannot be right that a development that a few months ago was unnecessary for Mid Sussex District Council’s Plan is now held to be an essential part of it.
“I strongly objected to this proposal on behalf of the local community, and we secured a further hearing on it, but regrettably our concerns were dismissed.
“It was unfortunate that Hassocks did not have a neighbourhood plan, which is how decisions on development in the village should be made, involving the local community. Everyone accepts the need for more housing, but this is not the way to provide it.”
Mid Sussex District Council is now expected to adopt the modified District Plan at a full meeting of the Council on 28 March 2018.
Mr Herbert also sought to defend the policies of Hassocks’ ‘emerging’ neighbourhood plan by referring a separate application for new housing at Friars Oak Fields in the village to the Secretary of State. This development application was rejected by Sajid Javid at the end of February.
1. To read the Planning Inspector’s Report, see http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/planning-licensing-building-control/planning-policy/local-development-framework/district-plan/.
2. Nick's response to the Mid Sussex District Local Plan Main Modifications consultation can be read here https://www.nickherbert.com/articles/mid-sussex-district-local-plan-main-modifications-consultation-response
3. Nick’s news release ‘MP urges Mid Sussex District Council to reject Hassocks development’ (14 November 2017) can be read here https://www.nickherbert.com/news-releases/2018/1/24/mp-urges-mid-sussex-district-council-to-reject-hassocks-development
4. Nick’s news release ‘MP objects to Hassocks housing plan’ (31 October 2017) can be read here https://www.nickherbert.com/news-releases/2018/1/24/mp-objects-to-hassocks-housing-plan
5. Nick’s letter to the Secretary of State (31 October 2017) can be read here https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a383a94f43b5511730fb7e0/t/5a69a7e1c83025d0fb04e2db/1516873701014/171031+SajidJavid+on+Hassocks+and+MSDC+housing.pdf
6. Nick’s article on housing in Hassocks (15 November 2017) can be read here https://www.nickherbert.com/articles/2018/1/12/housing?rq=hassocks