September kicks off a new planning committee system in Mid Sussex.
Mid Sussex District Council says the changes will improve how it deals
with planning applications by ensuring local accountability and making better use of its resources.
Starting next month the council will replace its South West Area and North East Area planning committees with two new District wide planning committees. The new committees will consider all small scale planning applications, no matter where they are in the District.
Under the current system, planning applications are split by location between the South West Area and North East Area planning committees. However, this can lead to more applications being submitted for one area of the District than the other, something which puts extra pressure on the planning committees and can limit the amount of time that is available to discuss each application.
A spokesman said that moving to two district-wide planning committees would allow the Council to balance the
workload of planning applications, spreading them equally between the two committees and offering a greater choice of dates for a planning application to be considered by committee, which would speed up some decisions. Local Councillors would continue to be able to speak on applications in their ward at committee meetings, fully representing the views of the local community. Each new committee will have 12 members drawn from across Mid Sussex to ensure that there is still plenty of local knowledge to guide decision making.
The Council’s District Planning committee which was established in 2008 will remain
unchanged, dealing with the larger scale planning applications that are in excess of 2000
square feet in size or feature more than 50 new homes.
Councillor Gary Marsh, Cabinet Member for Planning said: “Over the past two years we have used the latest planning guidance to improve the quality and efficiency of our planning meeting.
“This change to district wide planning committees is the latest step in modernising our planning structure.”
“Our new planning committees will give us greater flexibility when it comes to determining
planning applications, which will speed up the time applicants have to wait for a decision.
Dealing with applications from across Mid Sussex will also lead to more balanced,
impartial and consistent decision making because members will have more time to
consider each application in a professional and knowledgeable manner, and to listen to
local Councillors’ representations.”
All planning committee meetings will continue to be held at the Council’s Oaklands offices
where microphones and a hearing loop system are available to enable residents who are
hard of hearing to follow the discussions. There is also disabled access for wheelchair
users to attend meetings.
The new district wide committees will remain in the 7pm timeslots currently occupied
by North East Area and South West Area planning committees. For more information
on Mid Sussex District Council committees and meetings please contact the
Mid Sussex District Council Member Services Team on 01444 477111 or email