Having attended the recent District Plan (DP) hearing on the subject of Duty to Co- operate (DTC) we wholeheartedly endorse the views of Margaret Baker and Chris Bacon published in last week’s Middy.
In our view a process which allows vested interests to dominate the hearing is seriously flawed and defeats the objective of localism.
We believe the Inspector should have been able to examine the neighbouring authorities who had challenged MSDC’s efforts to meet the DTC requirements rather than allowing developers to try to make their case for them. Hopefully they failed.
The building of an additional 10,600 homes in an area already suffering from creaking infrastructure is a hard pill to swallow for Mid Sussex residents but preferable to the ridiculous targets of the repealed South East Plan and the additional thousands that developers would like.
We have already seen attacks being made by developers on our countryside and, should the District Plan be rejected, we can look forward to a serious intensifying of this pressure for development of greenfield sites.
Claire Tester made a strong case for MSDC’s work on DTC and it was clear that much had been done. What difficulties have arisen seem to have been caused in no small part by friction between the councils themselves which cannot have helped when drawing up the relevant plans.
However, if Claire Tester’s valiant efforts are not sufficient to save the day then let us hope that lessons have been learned and that it can quickly be brought back on track including a robust justification for the housing numbers against which the developer hordes are already ranged!!At the recent public meeting in Hassocks about the proposal by Mayfield Market Towns to build a new village in Mid Sussex west of Burgess Hill, our local MP’s, Nick Herbert and Nicholas Soames, assured the audience that they would shout foul if attempts were made to increase the housing numbers identified in the DP. Let us hope it does not come to that.
Keith Sullens CBE and Peter Egan
Co-Chairs South of Folders Lane Action Group, Burgess Hill