A decision on plans for 51 new homes on the edge of Hassocks has been deferred to wait for an appeal decision later this summer.
Developer Gleeson has submitted a planning application for land west of London Road and officers had recommended that Mid Sussex District Council’s district planning committee approve the scheme last Thursday (June 16).
But chair of the committee Robert Salisbury explained that a previously refused proposal for 97 homes off London Road was being heard by the planning inspector in August.
Mr Salisbury (Con, Cuckfield) said: “I can’t be confident I’m in a position to determine a robust position on this because of the outcome of 10th August hearing.
“For me this will produce material evidence which will move me to a more robust position.”
The committee supported his view and unanimously voted to defer the application.
The committee refused the 97 homes back in 2014 on the grounds of air quality and highway capacity, but later withdrew the reasons before the appeal was heard.
However the planning inspector dismissed the appeal citing the gap between Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint and air quality issues.
The developer challenged the decision, which was then ‘quashed’ as the inspector had ‘erred in law’, and a fresh planning appeal is scheduled for August.
The council received 171 letters of objection to the scheme for 51 homes, raising flood risk, coalescence between Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint, traffic congestion, air quality, the loss of green space, and the impact to the character of the area.
While the officers’ report noted that the scheme would result in an adverse impact to the character of the area and conflicted with the emerging Hassocks neighbourhood plan, they argued that in light of the National Planning Policy Framework more market and affordable homes would outweigh any negatives.
Hassocks Parish Council has ‘strongly objected’ to the new application, stating: “The parish council has given careful consideration to the difference between this application and the application dismissed on appeal. The new application is for approximately half the number of homes which would be on the eastern half of the site leaving the western half as open space.
“Although the housing extends less into the local gap between Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint it is still a very significant intrusion which would erode the gap.”
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