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mid sussex district council Shock As Inspector DOUBLES Mid Sussex's Housing Requirement To Over 1000 Homes Per Year!!!

21st February 2017
By Peter Chapman

Disaster for Mid Sussex District Council as the planning inspector has decreed that the local authority must supply 1026 houses per year up until 2031 as part of their District Plan.

The District Plan was re-submitted by MSDC in 2016 after the first version from 2011 was thrown out in the early stages as the council failed in their duty to co-operate with neighbouring districts over their own unmet housing needs.

Back in 2011, Mid Sussex District Council put forward a proposal to build 10,600 homes over a 20 year period. This equated to 530 homes per year.

The revised District Plan has the council proposing a figure of 800 homes per year until 2031. Of these 800, 46 would be a contribution towards meeting the unmet housing need of other districts.


At the recent examination of the re-submitted District Plan, the Developer's Forum - made up of all the developers with land holdings in Mid Sussex - put forward a strong case that the number of new homes in Mid Sussex needed to be much higher.

mid sussex district councilThey pointed out that the development of the Burgess Hill Northern Arc strategic development (approx 3,500 homes) would not be in full flow until late into the 20 year period and that they have land for housing that they can start to develop immediately to ensure the yearly housing target is met.

With a change in the housing market conditions since the first District Plan was thrown out, affordability has become a big problem with Mid Sussex being the 22nd most expensive place to live outside of London. To combat this, the supply of houses in the area needs to increase more than if the plan had been approved in 2013.

The examiner's conclusion
is that Mid Sussex needs to build 876 new homes per year PLUS another 150 new homes each year to contribute towards Crawley's unmet housing need. This equals a grand total of 1,026 new homes each year up until 2031. A HUGE increase on the 530 homes per year put forward by MSDC in 2011.

A further meeting will take place at the MSDC chamber on Friday March 3rd where discussions will take place on where the plan goes from here - Expect the council to strongly contest the 1,026 p.a figure put forward by the Inspector.

Neighbourhood Plans Now Worthless?

The big concern now is what is the validity of the various neighbourhood plans that have been 'made' following referendums across the district's towns and villages?

These plans decree which pieces of land in each area should be used for housing and which should be protected. They were put together based on a yearly figure somewhere between 600-800 new homes per year.

With the examiner declaring that 1,026 homes will be needed each year up until 2031, you would expect some - if not all of the neighbourhood plans - will need to be completely torn up and re-written.

Tens of thousands of pounds were spent on putting these plans together, countless hours of time put in by the community and local councils, and yet it could all be for nothing!

The Blame Game
How much of this could have been avoided if Mid Sussex District Council had seriously considered the unmet housing needs of the other districts back in 2011-13?

If they had submitted a figure closer to the old South East Plan of 16,000 homes over a 20 year period instead of just 10,600, then this latest predicament *may* have been averted.

Or is the ever-changing government policy to blame? The government inspector holds a lot of power, and with the developer's forum seemingly having more influence than the council (as they look to swell their own bank accounts), is it a case that the deck is just completely stacked against Mid Sussex District Council?

With some local elections just around the corner, let the blame games begin.

You can download the inspector's housing requirement letter here: http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/media/78962/id11_inspectorsinterimletterhousing20217.pdf

Spread the word: Mid Sussex is going to have to take an insane amout of new housing, but will the area cope?

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