LETTER: Bonkers decision by inspector

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There seems to be a fundamental problem with our ‘democracy’ when we can be dictated to by planning inspectors.

Unelected and unaccountable and seemingly above contradiction by us the public and whose decisions are often far reaching and affect thousands of people’s lives for ever.

The planning system is now so weakened and stacked in favour of developers, who apart from money and considerable resources have political influence at the highest level. Searching the internet reveals that developers donate heavily to the political parties (no surprise there) and pay for access to senior Ministers even the PM.

Ranged against these powerful builders and their planning experts are strapped for cash Local Authorities and members of the public, the latter with little or no resources or knowledge. David Cameron massively weakened the planning system and the current government has carried this further. Large scale migration over the last 20 years is a massive factor but we still have a duty to protect the countryside now and for future generations.

The latest example of the cards being stacked against us, the public, is the examination of our long awaited district plan. The district plan was derailed by the government a few years ago when it was due to be examined, after the government conveniently moved the goal posts and the developers exploited this. This set us back two years.

After much careful preparation of the latest district plan draft we now find that the building lobby vultures have ganged up again to shoot the it down in flames and demand much larger building numbers. The planning inspector (Mr Bore) has rolled over in the face of the barrage of attack from the builders and increased the numbers required in the plan to an eye watering 17,000. We are not even talking about the whole county, just the district.

17,000 homes in Mid Sussex is quite frankly bonkers. Has the inspector taken leave of his senses or is he so in awe of the building lobby and their powerful advocates that he has lost all sense of proportion.

In a small district like ours, is Mr Bore actually suggesting we build another two Haywards Heaths. It would change the nature of the district for good. Mid Sussex is a rural area with the National Park to the south and the AONB to the North and West. The rest of the landscape is still of high quality even if it is not actually designated as ‘Outstanding’. Are these less protected areas expected to take 17,000 houses in 17 years ? It’s nonsense.

As powerless members of the public we can only hope on support at the political level, so I hope our MP will be able to intervene in this process and before it is too late. Please write to the Middy and your MP and express your views.

Stephen Horsfield

Penland Road, Haywards Heath

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