MP opposes 500 new homes for Hassocks

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert

Hassocks’ MP has spoken out against plans for 500 new homes north of the village.

Mid Sussex District Council is currently consulting on modifications to its local plan, which now includes land north of the Clayton Mills development, with access off Ockley Lane.

Last week residents launched a campaign group to fight the 500 homes, while Labour, Green and Lib Dem party members in Hassocks have united against the proposals.

However the Tory-led council claims the allocation is needed to make the local plan sound, which once adopted will protect the district from speculative development.

This week Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert, who represents Hassocks, has raised ‘serious concerns’ about the proposed allocation north of the village.

In a letter to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, Mr Herbert argued the overall level of development Hassocks was expected to take was ‘unsustainably high’.

He also felt it was important to maintain green space between Burgess Hill and Hassocks and ‘avoid the random creation of a suburban sprawl’.

Mr Herbert suggested the site also ‘seriously undermined’ the neighbourhood plan process as just 140 homes were proposed on part of the larger site.

The district council has spent years attempting to finish its local plan, which needs to be approved by a planning inspector before it can be adopted.

Mr Herbert said: “I am concerned that the inspector has shown too little regard for the importance of neighbourhood planning, which as you know has across the country delivered more housing than expected, and that this latest step will further damage the policy.

“Instead of plan-led housing, the council’s proposed modification licenses random, developer-led development which has not been properly considered.”

The MP went on to question the premise of the inspector’s demand for the district council to increase its five-year land supply, which is behind the decision to include the new housing allocation.

He argued the council had been put in a ‘very difficult position by the inspector and feels that it has no choice but to take its current course’ and urged Mr Javid to confirm the allocation is not required.

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