MP asks Council to reject speculative Hassocks housing bid
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has written to Mid Sussex District Council urging its Planning Committee to reject new housing on Friars Oak Fields in Hassocks.
In his letter to the Chief Executive, Mr Herbert says the Council “should not be rewarding a speculative developer with planning permission on a site which does not sit in an emerging neighbourhood plan and is pre-empting the Council’s own review.”
Rydon Homes have submitted a second application to build 130 homes on greenfield land at Friars Oak Fields. The first application was approved by Mid Sussex District Council in 2016 but subsequently ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State at Mr Herbert’s request. It was refused planning permission.
A second application has been submitted to the Council, this time with the addition of a footbridge crossing over the railway line. The absence of a safe crossing over the railway line was one of the original reasons for refusal. The District Planning Committee will consider the new application on Thursday (29 November).
Mid Sussex have already imposed a strategic allocation of 500 houses on Hassocks which supported the Council’s five-year land supply. If the application on Friars Oak Fields were to be approved, within the next five years the village of Hassocks will increase by 1,000 houses.
In his letter to the Council leaders, Mr Herbert says: “I believe that the Council should support the neighbourhood planning process and resist speculative applications by developers who should be required to follow due process.
“The Government has reiterated the importance of neighbourhood planning, and measures in the updated National Planning Policy Framework are intended to prevent emerging neighbourhood plans from being undermined from speculative development.”
He warned: “Public support for Hassocks’ neighbourhood plan will be further eroded if this is once again pre-empted by a major development.”
Mr Herbert has been a longstanding supporter of neighbourhood planning which gives local communities greater power to decide where housing should go.
For further information please contact Michelle Taylor on 07928 529783.
Notes for Editors
1. To read a copy of Mr Herbert’s letter in full see here
2. To read a copy of Mr Herbert’s intervention on the Secretary of State’s statement to the House on National Planning Policy Framework (March 2018) see www.nickherbert.com/speeches/2018/3/6/national-planning-policy-framework?rq=NPPF.
3. To read a copy of Nick’s article for the West Sussex County Times (Jan 2018) about neighbourhood planning see www.nickherbert.com/articles/2018/1/31/neighbourhood-planning.