Public showdown to be held over 500 Hassocks homes plan

DM17103301a.jpg Hassocks residents' campaign against 500 homes pictured last year. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171024-191610008
DM17103301a.jpg Hassocks residents' campaign against 500 homes pictured last year. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171024-191610008

A public showdown over plans for 500 homes on the edge of Hassocks is due to be held at the start of February.

Land north of the Clayton Mills development, with access off Ockley Lane, was allocated as a strategic site by Mid Sussex District Council last year.

During a consultation on modifications to its local plan the council received 1,060 responses relating to the extra homes for Hassocks.

Planning inspector Jonathan Bore, who is scrutinising the Mid Sussex local plan, has called a short hearing to discuss the Hassocks strategic site on Monday February 5, due to be held at Clair Hall in Haywards Heath.

It will cover the site selection process, its relationship to the village, and infrastructure issues.

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert, who represents Hassocks, welcomed the decision.

He said: “This will be an important opportunity for local concerns about this proposal to be heard.

“The proposed development would increase the size of Hassocks by a third, erode the green space between the village and Burgess Hill, and contravenes the neighbourhood plan.

“I have made clear my strong concerns about the proposed allocation to the Government and to Mid Sussex District Council. This development is unsustainable and should not go ahead.

“I regret any delay caused to the adoption of Mid Sussex District Council’s local plan, and hope that the process will be completed as soon as possible, but it is important that concerns about the last minute and unnecessary addition of the Hassocks allocation are addressed.”

Sue Hatton, a Lib Dem district councillor for Hassocks, added: “Inspector Bore has clearly decided that the very strong objections put forward by the people of Hassocks warrants further airing and examination.

“We welcome the opportunity for this proposal to be further scrutinised in public in order to redress the rushed nature of the MSDC decision to include this site in the district plan.”

Andrew MacNaughton, cabinet member for housing and planning, explained how the inspector had asked the council to strengthen its five-year land supply.

Ha added: “The council considered a number of options including a proposed allocation for a strategic site in Hassocks and this was presented to the independent inspector as part of the council’s main modifications document.

“The inspector will decide if this site should be allocated for development. The short hearing on the 5th February should help this process.”

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