The Government has rubber-stamped a decision to allow 40 new homes in Hawywards Heath on appeal.
Plans for land north of Birchen Lane were refused by Mid Sussex District Council’s District Planning Committee back in October 2015, but the developers appealed against this decision.
The committee’s decision was overturned on appeal by a planning inspector after a public inquiry was held in February.
Robert Salisbury (Con, Cuckfield), chair of the committee, said on Thursday (August 11): “The secretary of state has effectively rubber-stamped the inspector’s report on this.”
Officers explained that the Government was attaching ‘great importance on being able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply’.
The district council is currently putting together a new local development framework as its planning policies are out of date,
The council consulted on its draft plan last year and according to its website it is due to submit the plan to central Government this summer, with examination expected in the autumn.
A letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government, dated August 8, explained that the appeal had been recovered by the secretary of state as it involved ten or more homes in an area where a neighbourhood plan had been submitted.
It noted that the district council’s emerging plan was ‘at an early stage with slow and delayed progress’, and although noting the harm to the nearby Grade II* listed Sunte House, argued this was clearly outweighed by the benefits of new housing.
Any decrease in biodiversity through the loss of the hedgerows would be offset by the proposed creation of a wildflower meadow in the southern field, the report added.
The letters concludes: “Having carefully assessed the evidence before him, the secretary of state is satisfied that there are no adverse impacts which, either individually or together, are of sufficient weight to indicate that the development should be restricted.
“Overall, therefore, the secretary of state finds that, when taking the policies of the development plan and the framework as a whole, the adverse impacts of granting the proposed development are limited and that there are no material harms that significantly and demonstrably outweigh the substantial benefits which would result from the provision of new housing and affordable housing to boost supply as required by the framework.”
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