As a resident of Hurstpierpoint I understand why some of my fellow villagers may be thinking of voting against the Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common Neighbourhood plan in our referendum on Feb 12th.
The plan contains conditional support for the building of some 300 new houses and living in the proximity of new housing development is not something I would wish on anyone.
However I would urge those people to reconsider. Nearly all the new houses envisaged in the plan have already been approved by the Planning Inspectorate or MSDC and voting No will not change that fact.
Voting ‘Yes’ to the plan is the way to vote against uncontrolled housing development which is why developers have consistently battled against the plan at every stage. If the Plan is rejected developers will have licence to build anywhere that they can obtain MSDC permission to do so, including increased numbers at the sites where development has already been approved. We, as local residents will be unable to have any say in how many houses are built and where they are sited. It is common knowledge that developers have plans to build some 1500 houses in and around Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common in the next few years which I believe would pave the way (literally) for the future development of the 10,000 houses proposed for the Mayfield Market town.
The overall aim of the Neighbourhood Plan - to protect the countryside in and around our villages - is something that we can all agree on and can be effective. Its policy to maintain strategic gaps between villages preserving their individual identities has been upheld already by The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
If we do not agree with all the Parish Council decisions we have the opportunity to elect a new council in May. If the Neighbourhood Plan is rejected we will not have another opportunity to vote against mass unwanted, uncontrolled and uncoordinated housing and industrial development.
S Hand, Hurstpierpoint