Hassocks Parish Council will start consulting soon on its proposals for a Neighbourhood Plan, which will shape the future of Hassocks to 2033 and beyond.
Based on new law which aims to give local communities a greater say in planning issues, it means local people will have a chance to play a part in deciding the amount and location of new development. Councillor Paul King, who chairs the Council’s working group, said: “This will give us the best chance to shape the future of our village. That is why the Parish Council will be seeking the views of as many people as possible in our community to set out a vision for the future.
“The Plan we are working towards will form part of the District Plan and have a direct impact on future planning policies and allocations of land for different uses.
“The Council knows there are challenges however, particularly from recent changes to government planning policy. The new planning rules aim to free land for building and it is very important to remember that some change is inevitable.”
Cllr King added: “The Neighbourhood Plan must comply with local and national planning policies and these require Hassocks to accept some new housing and business development.”
Crucially, the Plan must be consistent with the Mid Sussex District Plan and its policies – which take priority.
Cllr King said: “The task for Hassocks is to work within these constraints to serve the needs of the community and preserve the vision for the village which the local people want. This has to be sustainable and recognise the infrastructure challenges and level of recent development.”
If the Plan passes external examination and more than 50 per cent of voters in a referendum vote for it, then decisions on future planning applications must take the Neighbourhood Plan into account.
Cllr King said: “That’s the goal and that’s what we are aiming for.”
The Parish Council plans to start widespread consultation with parishioners, people working in Hassocks, businesses, landowners and local interest organisations.
In the meantime it welcomes written comments on what people would like to see in the Plan.