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martlets shopping centre burgess hill Council To Break TEN Policies In Order To Approve New Martlets Shopping Cente

8th March 2016
by Peter Chapman

The approval of the proposed Martlets Shopping Centre redevelopment this coming Thursday (March 10th) will break TEN Planning Policies of Mid Sussex District Council, a report has revealed.

The officer's report that we shared with you last week details a whole range of incompatibilties with local policy that will simply be ignored to push the development through.

Burgess Hill Town Councillor Janice Henwood has written to MSDC's Planning Committee with the complete list.

Here are the ten proposed policy infringements:

The loss of a valued community and cultural asset without a suitable replacement is contrary to the NPPF, the development plan and Neighbourhood Plan
While in the main it is considered that the application in this respect complies with local Plan policies and the aims and objectives of the NPPF, it should be recognised that the residential element of the scheme is contrary to policy S4 of the Neighbourhood Plan.
While regard should be given the existing spare capacity within the town centre car parks that could potentially be used by residents for overnight parking, the scheme before members does not comply with this policy within the Neighbourhood Plan.
The proposal loss of the hall facilities is contrary to current development plan policies CS6 of the MSLP and S3 of the Neighbourhood Plan
Furthermore, a proportion of the proposed new units will have daylight/sunlight levels below the BRE Guidelines creating unsatisfactory living environments for future occupiers. In respect of these specific points then the proposal does not comply with the relevant development plan policy or the NPPF.
While the Local Highway authority are content with the level of parking proposed for the residential element of the scheme, the proposal does not comply with the standards set out in Policy S4 of the Neighbourhood Plan. In this regard, the proposal does not comply with the Development Plan.
The proposal does not include a replacement for the loss of the Martlets Hall and as such it is contrary to current Development Plan policies CS6 of the MSLP and S3 of the Neighbourhood Plan.
It has been identified that the proposal will have a likely significant impact on two existing flats to the rear of Church Walk and as such the proposal does not comply with policy B3 of Mid Sussex Local Plan.
Against the proposal, the scheme does not make provision for the like-for-like replacement of Martlets Hall and while there is capacity for the majority of users to be accommodated in other facilities across the town, the application does not comply with development plan policies on this issue.
10 While it has been demonstrated that there is sufficient spare capacity within the town centre car parks, the proposed level of parking associated with the residential element of the scheme does not comply with the standards set out in the Neighbourhood Plan.

Local resident David Andrews wrote to us with the following:

The Planning Application for the Re-Development of the Martlets will be considered by Mid Sussex District Council Planning Committee on 10th March. The recommendation to approve the application requires the Council to ignore a large number of planning requirements. These include parts of the recently agreed Neighbourhood Plan which we were assured put the Community not Developers in charge of our town.

We are set to lose the Martlets Hall without any replacement, despite a petition of over 6000 people protesting at this decision. Now to add insult to injury it is suggested that the Council should waive the right to have affordable housing included in the development of the 142 residential units. The Council are also expected to waive the right to almost £1m of money for community infrastructure which this residential development would normally attract.

The justification for these recommendations is that the affordable housing and community infrastructure payments would make the development financially unviable for New River Retail. Their financial appraisal apparently forecasts a profit of £12m and taking into account the increased rental they will receive in future years for the shops, cinema, hotel, possibly library then it is clear that they are squeezing our Community for every penny profit they can get.

One can only hope, with a depressing lack of confidence, that our Councillors will at last stand up for the people of Burgess Hill and insist that, whilst we do want to see improvements, we want a fair financial deal for the people of the town

It really does appear that NewRiver Retail are calling all the shots in this 'deal'. If MSDC do approve the development without ensuring existing policy is adhered to, then it'll mean all planning policy formed in consultation with the public is not worth the paper it's written on. Thursday's decision could set a very dangerous precedent for the future.

Spread the word! Councillors are being instructed to ignore planning policies to enable the approval of the Martlets Shopping Centre redevelopment

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Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What do you think of councillors being recommended to ignore existing policy to allow the development to go through? Is it right that Burgess Hill should lose a community facility and a huge sum of money to allow NewRiver Retail to make big profits for themselves?

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