Leader shocked and disappointed at increased housing target

PR2090/GW/MF - 02/03/2017

Mid Sussex District Council Leader Garry Wall has spoken out about his concerns for the future of Mid Sussex.

Councillor Garry Wall has reacted strongly to Independent Planning Inspector Jonathan Bore’s insistence that Mid Sussex must build 1026 homes per year between now and 2031.

"My colleagues and I have the gravest worries about the Inspector's views that this District can accommodate 1026 new homes every year for the next 17 years,” said Councillor Garry Wall, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council.

“The Council's own work, which has been validated by senior and highly respected experts, recommends that 800 new homes could be delivered every year. The Inspector is suggesting a level of housing that developers have never delivered in the entire history of Mid Sussex.”

Mr Bore is the Government appointed Inspector who is overseeing the public examination of the Mid Sussex District Plan. The plan sets out in broad terms what, where, when and how development will take place in Mid Sussex over the next 17 years.

The District Plan has been prepared with the help of Town and Parish Councils in Mid Sussex to make sure it reflects the views of local communities. However, the plan must be found ‘sound’ by an Independent Planning Inspector before it can be adopted.

"Local people understand the need to increase the level of housing and we believe that 800 new homes a year is a sensible and sustainable amount,” continued Councillor Wall. “Therefore we were shocked and hugely disappointed to read that the Inspector thinks that 1026 new homes could be built every year across our District.

"We have presented extensive evidence detailing the constraints in our District; local people are well aware of them. Our roads and railways are seriously congested and many key services are absolutely at capacity. In addition we enjoy a wonderful environmental heritage that we must endeavour to protect at all times. So we are very concerned and bewildered that these constraints appear not to have been properly understood by the Inspector."

The Council is carefully considering the range of options available, in the light of the Inspector's interim findings.

"I fully appreciate that many residents will be justifiably concerned about the long-term implications of the Inspector’s findings,” added Councillor Wall. “However, the Council is still in the Examination process, so there are limits to what I can say publicly. I believe that how the Council now responds is crucial and requires extremely careful deliberation."